UFC referee Marc Goddard was seen reprimanding Conor McGregor, who was cage-side at UFC Fight Night 118 in Gdansk, Poland on Saturday night, and he’s now explained exactly why he targeted the Irish superstar.
McGregor was in attendance to cheer on his team-mate Artem Lobov in a preliminary card fight with Andre Fili, and during the fight ‘The Notorious’ could be seen stalking around the outside of the cage shouting instructions to ‘The Russian Hammer.’
Goddard didn’t take too kindly to that intrusion and eventually stopped the fight for a brief moment in order to scold McGregor, telling him to act like a professional.
“The reason I interjected is because Artem gets a fourth cornerman cage side giving instruction,” Goddard told MMA Fighting. “That’s not allowed. Imagine had Conor talked him through a fight-ending sequence. Then what?
“Conor was basically acting like a fourth cornerman. Walking around the cage side wherever and whenever he wanted. When Fili took down Artem, Conor was right there. That’s simply not fair and not allowed. I won’t have it. He can’t do as he pleases.”
To his credit, McGregor raised his hands up by way of an apology after being told off by Goddard and then returned to his seat, from which vantage point the UK ref says he was free to shout as loudly and as often as he wanted.
“If Conor had stood up, stayed at his seat, then he could have shouted till his hearts content,” Goddard said. “That’s what he’s supposed to do. But what he simply cannot do, what he is not allowed to do, is approach the cage at any point and as I say act as the fourth corner. That’s unfair and unjust. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’ve done this forever, in any country in any situation. My integrity is not wavered and neither is the rules. We can’t allow that. I simply had to act.”
Lobov would go on to lose the fight by unanimous decision, and McGregor likely landed himself in trouble again as he walked his team-mate back to his dressing room afterwards as he could be overheard on a live feed repeatedly using a homophobic slur, calling the fighter’s opponent a ‘f*g**t.’
The UFC have punished fighters for this kind of language in the past, so it will be interesting to see how they proceed here.