(This post originally appeared on MMAFrenzy.)
Conor McGregor is expected back in court this Thursday, in connection with the charges that he’s facing, as a result of what transpired at UFC 223’s media day this past April. MMA Frenzy recently corresponded with criminal defense attorney and “The Fight Lawyer” podcast host, Dmitriy Shakhnevich, to get a sense of what could happen July 26th.
McGregor has been charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief, following the now infamous incident in April.
In bold is the questions we sent Shakhnevich, and the attorney’s response follows.
There’s certainly no requirement that a plea deal be entered Thursday. Perhaps it could take a bit longer. But it does look like, as I predicted, Conor will likely be entering a guilty plea in this case and avoiding jail time. In my view, there are three options here. Either (1) Conor will enter a plea to a misdemeanor (one of the lower offenses with which he’s charged), (2) it’ll be what’s called a “conditional plea,” or (3) he’ll be allowed to enter a plea to a straight “violation.”
With option (1), he’ll have to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, which is a crime in New York State and thus, be left with a criminal record for the rest of his life. A conditional plea, as per (2) above, means that he will likely plead guilty to a misdemeanor (crime) initially and then have to satisfy certain conditions, such as community service, course-taking (e.g., anger management) and the payment of fines and/or restitution. If he satisfies those conditions, then he can show proof of that to the Court and his case will be reduced to a non-criminal disposition (again, called a “violation,” of the law). But even with the first option (the straight misdemeanor), he will likely still have to satisfy certain conditions, as mentioned above. It’s also possible that he can enter a plea, as per (3) above, to a straight violation, meaning Conor will never have a criminal record at all. That would be the best option for him. But again, certain relatively demanding conditions would likely have to be satisfied in order for that plea to go through.
Another possible, though highly unlikely, option in my view, is that Conor’s case will be dismissed in some form or another, with the satisfaction of certain conditions. Again, that’s possible, but unlikely because his case/charges are too serious for that to be an option.
The most important thing here is to preserve his immigration status and ability to travel (because he needs that to make money), and all of those pleas would likely satisfy that requirement.
Importantly however, as part of either of the above, he will have to admit wrongdoing in one form or another. If he does that, that will expose him to civil liability. That means that if he is then sued civilly (for money), he will likely have to pay without question. That’s the way that the law works (admitting wrongdoing in a criminal case opens the floodgates if a civil case is commenced). While money may not be the first thing on his mind, it’s important that Conor and his team keep that in mind, which I’m sure they will.
What transpires on Thursday could have a significant impact on when McGregor fights next. The now former lightweight and featherweight champ hasn’t competed in the Octagon, since November, 2016, when he stopped Eddie Alvarez.
There’s been considerable speculation recently that the UFC is looking at having McGregor fight the new 155 champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov later this year. But UFC President Dana White has repeatedly said that they are waiting to see how McGregor’s aforementioned legal issue is resolved, before they proceed with targeting a date for his return,
McGregor’s court appearance will take place in Brooklyn, New York.