By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor was in custody in New York on Friday, charged with assault and criminal mischief after a van-smashing rampage at a UFC press event in Brooklyn that was caught on video, the New York Police Department said.
McGregor, who became the first Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter to hold two world titles simultaneously when he beat Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt in Manhattan in 2016, turned himself in to police late on Thursday after the violent incident at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Police charged McGregor, 29, with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief, according to Lee Jones, an NYPD spokesman.
McGregor, who gave up plumbing to become one of his sport’s most recognizable and divisive stars, was due to be transferred to the criminal court in Brooklyn later on Friday for an arraignment hearing, Jones said.
Scores of news photographers and multiple broadcast trucks waited for a glimpse of McGregor leaving the police station in a quiet residential Brooklyn neighborhood.
Efforts to reach McGregor’s representatives were not successful. It was not clear who would represent him in court.
As the UFC held a media day on Thursday ahead of upcoming fights at Barclays on Saturday, McGregor and his entourage entered through a side entrance and appeared to attack a van in which other fighters were riding.
Video footage of the fracas on social media showed objects being thrown at the van, and a number of people were injured by glass fragments as windows were smashed.
McGregor, who was born in Ireland and who previously told Reuters that he made $140 million from a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather last August, has not fought in a UFC bout since the win over Alvarez in November 2016.
Aside from his athletic success, McGregor is known for his beard and colorful tattoos, taste in expensive and flashy clothes, and aggressive taunting of opponents that stands out even among professional fighters.
The fighter has been caught up in violence outside the ring before. The Nevada Athletic Commission fined McGregor $25,000 after he threw water bottles at an opponent during a pre-fight news conference in 2016, the New York Daily News reported.
UFC President Dana White said the van attack was “the most disgusting thing that ever happened in the history” of the UFC.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York and Philip O’Connor in Stockholm; Additional reporting by Brendan McDermid in New York and Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale; Editing by Frank McGurty and Bernadette Baum)