It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours for Conor McGregor News. Late on Monday night, McGregor seemingly announced his retirement from fighting (details) ... a move that would have been taken more seriously if he hadn’t done something similar two years ago. But, things got very serious indeed on Tuesday afternoon when The New York Times released an article titled “Conor McGregor Under Investigation Over Sexual Assault Accusation in Ireland.”
Rumors that McGregor had been involved in a sexual assault had been swirling across social media since Dec. 2018. Making the story hard to confirm is Ireland’s strict laws on not naming people accused of sexual assault unless convicted. That led to several articles from various Irish outlets talking about a case involving an “unnamed sportsman.”
Here’s what we know at this time.
According to The Irish Times, the alleged sexual assault occurred at the Beacon Hotel in Dublin on the night of Dec. 9, 2018, a spot McGregor has been known to rent a penthouse suite from in the past. The New York Times cites an “anonymous person familiar with the hotel operations” who claims McGregor was there the night before the alleged incident. Police have reportedly checked the penthouse and CCTV footage for evidence.
The New York Times states McGregor is under investigation by the Gardai police, but has not been charged with a crime at this time. McGregor presented himself to at 5 p.m. on Jan. 17, 2019, and was arrested and questioned by authorities before being released without charges. Gardai released a statement to the Times that did not confirm McGregor as a suspect stating, “Investigations are ongoing in this case and at this time a file continues to be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.”
According to The Irish Times, the “sportsman” gave consent to have DNA samples taken while in custody under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984. A Section 4 detention applies to “any offence for which an adult may be punished by imprisonment for a term of five years or more.”
More sensational claims regarding the alleged incident can be seen at The Irish Mirror, but it’s worth noting that it is considered a tabloid. According to the Mirror, ‘the famous sports star’ was on ‘a two day bender’ and ‘looked wired.’ The alleged victim was ‘reported to have suffered serious injuries’ and it is claimed that Gardai ‘examined the woman’s blood-stained clothing.’
On December 13th The Independent quoted an anonymous ‘senior source’ on the status of the investigation into the ‘well-known sports star’:
“This matter is now the subject of investigation by Blackrock detectives – this is the third different garda station involved in this very difficult and complex case,” a senior source said. “The victim is too afraid to make a formal complaint at the moment, but that could change at a later date. However, that does not mean that this matter is closed – it’s very much a live investigation and CCTV will play a vital role.”
“Gardai are now satisfied they finally have a chain of events, incorporating a proper timeline of sorts in this case – but there is a lot to be sorted here. At the end of the day, there is no doubt that this young lady suffered a horrendous ordeal – the examinations and all the evidence shows that she was raped and very badly assaulted in that penthouse suite,” the source added.
On Jan. 18, 2019, The Irish Times made claims regarding the events surrounding the police complaint:
It is understood gardaí were initially alerted to the alleged rape when an acquaintance of the woman made a complaint. They visited the woman and spoke to her informally and she was taken to a sexual assault treatment unit where forensic samples were taken.
The woman initially did not make a formal statement of complaint to gardaí but was co-operating with and speaking to investigators. However she recently met gardaí and made a full statement alleging sexual assault. She also told gardaí she had been physically assaulted by the male.
After becoming aware of the allegations last month the sportsman told gardaí, through his solicitor, that he was willing to be interviewed. However investigators required a statement of complaint from the alleged victim before they could move forward. Once that complaint was received they contacted the man’s solicitor and asked him to attend at Dundrum Garda Station where he was arrested and questioned on Thursday.
In mid January, Irish broadcaster RTE accidentally included McGregor’s name in an internal memo related to the allegations. A photo of the memo was taken and circulated, pushing the story with McGregor’s name attached to outlets like TerezOwens. A follow up story without McGregor’s name in The Sunday Times noted RTE now faced fines because of the incident.
And now on March 26, 2019, the New York Times has blown the veil of secrecy off this story by publishing a full report on it.
McGregor publicist Karen J. Kessler initially responded to a request from the New York Times by telling them, “We don’t comment on rumors.” Shortly after the story was published, Kessler sent this statement out to media:
Statement from a spokesperson for Conor McGregor following today’s NY Times report: pic.twitter.com/aM10DAUK7I— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 26, 2019
“This story has been circulating for some time and it is unclear why it is being reported now.” the statement from Kessler read. “The assumption that the Conor retirement announcement today is related to this rumor is absolutely false. Should Conor fight in the future it must be in an environment where fighters are respected for their value, their skill, their hard work and their dedication to the sport.”
We’ll have more regarding this story as it develops, but for now it’s important to restate that Conor McGregor has not been charged with a crime, let alone found guilty.