Renowned Irish investigative crime reporter Paul Williams says his sources have led him to believe that UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor could be in “very, very serious danger.”
Earlier in the week, rumours began circulating on social media that McGregor was involved in a violent incident with a man connected to the Kinahan cartel at Crumlin’s Black Forge pub over the weekend. These rumours seemed to gain some weight when the Irish Independent subsequently reported that an unnamed “Irish celebrity” and “sports star” had punched a man in his 50’s with close links to a convicted drug dealer by the name of Graham ‘The Wig’ Whelan whilst involved in an altercation with a third man at a “south Dublin pub” on Sunday night.
On Wednesday morning, Williams addressed the mounting speculation during Newstalk Breakfast, a radio show of which he is a co-host.
“I just want to make a comment about this,” began Williams, who has written a plethora of acclaimed books on organized crime in Ireland . “This is really serious, and I’m wearing my old veteran crime reporter hat here. Conor McGregor is potentially in very, very serious danger – I’ve heard that from my sources, and just looking at the lay of the land currently.”
“I think it’s incredibly unprecedented.”
“He has ended up crossing swords, accidentally or whatever, with some very heavy people. Or some people who are related to some very, very heavy people that could pose a serious threat to his safety and maybe even his life – and I don’t say that lightly,” added Williams, who made sure to stress that the aforementioned man in his 50’s is not himself involved in any criminal activity. “And I think it’s unprecedented that an international sporting icon could be found to be dragged down by organized crime in this country.
“And these people, you have to remember – as I keep saying – they don’t care, they don’t have parameters, they don’t have boundaries, they don’t discriminate between whether you’re an international sporting icon or just a man on the street. They shoot you, they injure you, they do whatever they want to do.
“I think it’s extraordinary. And I think in the next 24-48 hours, I believe that An Garda Síochána will be approaching Conor McGregor and saying to him, ‘By the way, we just want to officially inform you that potentially your safety is at risk.’
“I think it’s an extraordinary state of affairs. And watch this space.”
During a media luncheon on Tuesday, UFC president Dana White said that he hadn’t spoken with McGregor or any of his representatives about the alleged incident, but added that he assumed the rumours and reports were untrue.
“I don’t think it’s true,” White said. “Because if it was true, it would be big. Conor can walk down the street and it’s big news now. If this was true, I just have to believe it would be off-the-charts crazy.”
“If it’s true, we’ll end up finding out. I can’t chase all these things around. If they’re true, we’ll get it figured out and we’ll go from there,” he added.
“I’m sure it can be worked out, too. Jake LaMotta’s brother beat the shit out of a wise guy, too, and they figured it out.”
McGregor, who hasn’t fought in the octagon since November of 2016, is currently negotiating a new deal with the UFC in the wake of his massively successful crossover to the boxing world in August. White, however, told reporters that he isn’t certain the Irishman will fight again after receiving such a gargantuan payday from his clash with boxing star Floyd Mayweather Jr.