Esther Lin, Showtime
Conor McGregor’s longtime manager decried media reports linking the Irish star to a pair of sexual assault cases in his native country.
Audie Attar, owner of the Paradigm Sport Management firm that reps the former two-division champion, “vehemently” denied “any allegation of sexual misconduct or any wrongdoing” in a Monday interview on “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.” He called Irish reports on McGregor “tabloid driven” and “sickening,” adding his team will “debunk things that have been said” in the coming weeks.
Attar declined to answer follow-up questions on his interview when contacted by MMA Fighting.
The manager defended his client after being asked about McGregor’s ability to travel into the U.S. for a comeback fight expected for Jan. 18. He said “a deal is imminent” on that front, but couldn’t say whether the ex-champ will encounter any travel issues, as did UFC star Darren Till prior to a fight with Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244.
Despite repeated brushes with the law, McGregor has managed to avoid serious charges that might impede his ability to get a work visa. But speculation about his legal troubles increased dramatically following a pair of bombshell reports on the alleged sexual assaults.
This past month, McGregor was linked by the New York Times to a sexual assault investigation by the Irish police service Gardai. According to the report, he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a vehicle outside of a Dublin pub, though he had not been formally charged or interviewed by authorities. The report’s details mirrored others from multiple Irish news outlets that said “a famous Irish sportsman” was under investigation for sexual assault.
Irish privacy laws forbid news outlets from identifying suspects in rape cases unless they are convicted. Gardai confirmed to MMA Fighting the existence of an investigation into a sexual assault that took place on Oct. 11 in Dublin, but declined further comment on the identity of the alleged assailant.
The Times report this past month was the second sexual assault case linked to McGregor after another allegation was raised in March. That report stated he’d been arrested and questioned by police in January after allegedly assaulting a woman in a Dublin hotel one month earlier. He reportedly was released pending further investigation, and he had not been charged with a crime.
McGregor did find himself in a courtroom earlier this year, but on a separate matter. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 1 to a single charge of assault after striking an older man in a Dublin pub. He was fined €1000 ($ 1,116.68) and reportedly paid restitution to the victim. He apologized for his actions in an interview with ESPN.com.
Attar praised McGregor for taking responsibility for the pub assault. But the rep indicated the Irish star was the victim of “rumors” amplified by his celebrity status.
”The thing about Conor is when he makes a mistake, he owns up to it, and he’s a global icon,” Attar said. “But he’s also a polarizing figure, so he’s the subject of a lot of rumors that take place, and our position is always been that we just don’t comment on rumors.
”But even most recently, in terms of certain allegations, we vehemently deny it, and he does as well. At the end of the day, we know who he is. He knows who he is, we know what the truth is, so what we have to do is focus on the positives. And while there’s been all this different stuff in the media and the rumor mills if you will, he’s had a great year from a business standpoint.”
While recovering from a broken hand that scrapped a July return, McGregor has promoted his signature whisky, Proper 12, and has kept in the headlines for his social media posts, recently calling to fight the winner of UFC 244’s “BMF” title fight.
An announcement on McGregor’s fighting future could come as early as this week, Attar said.
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