White, though, has a very good idea of what it’s like to be as famous as McGregor after getting a firsthand look several years ago. Based on that, he indicated he believes the repeated incidents outside of the cage – including a report on Saturday that the former two-division champ was questioned on suspicion of attempted sexual assault and indecent exposure – are the result of a “crazy” lifestyle.
“I’m not defending Conor in any way, shape, or form. I don’t know enough about the situation to talk about it all. But I do know I’ve gone out with him before, and it’s batsh*t nuts.”
White said he’s read the same reports as the public on the incident that prompted McGregor’s reps to issue a fiery denial of wrongdoing and veiled threat against reporters looking to sensationalize his latest run-in with the law. No charges have been filed against McGregor to date.
The UFC exec said he hasn’t spoken to McGregor, whom he said is retired, though he’d give the star advice if asked.
Asked whether McGregor’s alleged behavior is the product of a fighter who’s misdirecting unused energy for competition, White wasn’t willing to say the ex-champ is simply frustrated by a lack of activity.
“[Henry] Cejudo’s got a lot in the gas tank, too,” he said. “He could definitely fight again. But I think when you have guys like Conor and Cejudo that have done it for a long time and cut weight, dieting, all the bullsh*t you go through, and then you make a lot of money – you just don’t feel like doing it any more. A lot of people don’t think Conor’s really done. I don’t know the answer to that question either, but we’ll see.”
McGregor, who was in Corsica readying himself for a water bike race across the Mediterranean when the allegations surfaced, on Friday made headlines for allowing the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to test him. The test indicated he has not made official the retirement that would take him out of the random drug testing pool administered by the UFC’s anti-doping partner, though he’s proclaimed he is done with fighting.
White previously has laid into McGregor when the Irish star went rogue, calling an infamous bus attack at UFC 223 the “most disgusting thing” in UFC history. The two have reportedly butted heads behind the scenes on several occasions, though White has always characterized their relationship as strong.
White said he gained a better understanding of what McGregor goes through when he and now-former UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta went out with the fighter for a night on the town.
“When Conor blew up, he showed up one time at the venue with so much security, I thought, ‘This is f*cking ridiculous,’” he said. “Nobody needs this much security. This kid’s going to blow all his money on security. Then me and Lorenzo met up with him one night, and holy sh*t.
“You just don’t understand how big this kid is until you go out with him. He was literally getting mobbed. People were going crazy, screaming, jumping up from blackjack tables, leaving their money there and running after Conor. I’ve never seen anything like that. … Imagine what it’s like with him in Europe?”
McGregor was last seen in the octagon in January, when he returned from a two-year layoff and failed bid to take back the lightweight belt to deliver a quick stoppage of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246. Outside the cage, the Irish star has had repeated brushes with the law, including charges of strong-arm robbery for swatting a fan’s cellphone, punching an older man at a bar, and questioning on suspicion of sexual assault. So far, attorneys have been able to negotiate reduced charges that have kept him out of jail, though they’ve resulted in stiff fines.