Conor McGregor made his first public appearance at the weekend at a fan event in Scotland and talk inevitably turned to his recent defeat to Floyd Mayweather.
The UFC lightweight champion made his professional boxing debut against the now 50-0 future Hall of Fame fighter, where he lasted nearly ten rounds before fight referee Robert Byrd stepped in and stopped the contest.
Much has been made of the nature of McGregor’s performance on August 26, from his early round successes to his obvious fatigue from the fourth round onwards.
After the stoppage, the gracious MMA star paid tribute to Mayweather, though he did admit that he felt the stoppage was a little premature.
Following the passage of time, however, the Irishman’s opinion has hardened on the matter and he has now taken a more critical view of the tenth round stoppage and of referee Byrd himself.
Speaking at the fan event, McGregor took aim at the official.
“When we came face to face and we were doing the rules thing, he was only staring at me. I’m looking at him staring at me and I could see in my peripheral vision that he was looking at me and not looking at Floyd.
“I was going to say, ‘He’s fighting as well, mate. Give him the f**king rules. I don’t know, what was going on there?
“Every time we tied he literally wrestled me off him. It is what it is, I knew I wasn’t going to get a fair shake out there.”
Speaking of the stoppage, McGregor went on.
“I thought it was an early stoppage. How the f**k can you stop a fight if there were no knockdowns or nothing previous?
“The round before that I almost had him dropped. I hurt him to the body in the round before. How the f**k can you stop it like that at the first sign of a wobble? You’ve got to let these fights go on.
“Why did he not give (Mayweather) instruction? Why was he staring at me? He had a vendetta against me straight off the bat. Early exchanges in the tie up, instead of just separating he would reach around and pull me away.
“That takes energy away from me. I started getting – not paranoid – but I just started analyzing the whole thing a bit deeper. I felt like I got the short end of the stick here.”
McGregor’s comments about Robert Byrd has now drawn the ire of Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) executive director Bob Bennett, who has spoken out against the UFC star and supported Byrd’s decision to stop the contest.
Reported by MMA Mania, Bennett said:
“All I can say is we did our job. That’s what we get paid to do and that’s what we did. I find it very disappointing that Conor would make derogatory remarks that the fight was stopped too early when really the timing of referee Robert Byrd’s stoppage was impeccable. We looked out for his health and safety. We did everything we could to ensure it was a level playing field.
“I think the fight was very exciting. The fans loved it. The health and safety of the fighter was always at the forefront, from the beginning of the fight. There’s no doubt Conor did a phenomenal job, fighting a future Hall of Famer. Obviously, Floyd had his game plan that worked as well. The actual stoppage, we looked out for the health and safety of the fighter, which is our responsibility.”
What do you think? Did Conor McGregor get a fair chance to make history against Floyd Mayweather or was he indeed the victim of a clandestine vendetta?
Or, did Byrd step in at the right moment to protect McGregor from injury?
Hat Tip to MMA Fighting for McGregor comments.