An Irish MMA fighter who hails from the same neighborhood as Bono is facing charges of affray in New York City alongside Conor McGregor. Cian Cowley, 25, is understood to have handed himself in alongside McGregor to the 78th precinct in Brooklyn late on April 5. Earlier that day, Cowley is believed to have been with McGregor when the Notorious MMA was shown on videos attacking a bus carrying UFC fighters in the depths of the Barclays Center. The clips show McGregor shattering a window of the bus with a dolly.
Cowley is facing charged of misdemeanor assault and one count of criminal mischief. Both MMA fighters are due to appear in court in Brooklyn on April 6. The UFC have addressed the controversy in a statement saying:
During today’s media event at Barclays Center to promote UFC 223: Khabib vs. Holloway, Conor McGregor and Artem Lobov entered the building accompanied by over a dozen individuals. The group, which included McGregor and Lobov, vandalized the vehicle that contained a number of athletes competing at the event taking place this weekend.
NYPD was immediately alerted and is currently in the process of investigating the situation. UFC is working very closely with the New York Athletic Commission, Barclays Center security and law enforcement authorities. All parties are working together to ensure the highest standard of proper safety precautions are implemented to protect the fans and athletes.
The organization deems today’s disruption completely unacceptable and is currently working on the consequences that will follow. Immediately, Lobov has been removed from this weekend’s card and individuals involved in the incident are not welcome at tomorrow’s ceremonial weigh-in or Saturday’s event at Barclays Center.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cowley Has Previously Been Touted as the Future of Irish MMA
Prior to joining the ranks of MMA, Cowley was an established Thai boxers in Ireland, winning a national title. At the time of his switch in 2015, Pundit Arena interviewed Cowley and called him, “The Future of Irish MMA.” Cowley told the website that within 2 to 3 years he would “make it to the UFC.” Cowley talked about the wrestling side of MMA saying, “I’m working on it – I’m looking up stuff, and really concentrating on it. I’ll take the hidings and I’ll keep going.”
The decision to move to the sport was largely motivated by money. Cowley said, “Even the best Thai boxers in the world still don’t have a pot to piss in… I don’t want to look back on my career in twenty years time and have only medals to show for it. I don’t see my life being any other way than having a load of money, and a bit of fame as well.” In the article, Cowley mentioned that he had signed to MMA trainer John Kavanagh’s Straight Blast Gym.
In May 2017, Cowley lost in his MMA debut against David Khalsa at an event in Birmingham, England. McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh tweeted after the fight, “Im in this for the long game with @CianCowley . Nothing going to change that. Tonight we learned, we’ll be back to go on a winning streak.”
2. Cowley Has a Small Child With Make-Up Artist Clara Kearney
According to social media posts, Cowley has a young son with Dublin-based make-up artist Clara Kearney. On his Facebook page, Cowley says that the couple have been together since 2006.
In the favorite quotes section of his Facebook page, Cowley writes, “If you develop the habits of success, success will become a habit.”
3. Cowley’s Influence on McGregor Has Been Considered Key in the Notorious MMA’s Victory Over Nate Diaz
A Vice feature that was published shortly after McGregor defeated Nate Diaz at UFC 202 credited the role played by Cowley in training camp. Cowley told the magazine, “When Conor started putting his camp together for the Diaz rematch he started to look for specific body types and skill sets that could prepare him for it. As soon as the Diaz fight was announced, I was put into Conor’s group straightaway. I was blessed to get an opportunity like that and you only have to look at how far I’ve come since then.”
On April 3, Cowley retweeted McGregor coach John Kavanagh’s tweet about the McGregor v Diaz fight being voted the UFC’s greatest ever.
4. Cowley Owns His Own Gym in Dublin
Cowley owns and trains out of his own gym, Warrior’s Gym, in the Dublin suburb of Dun Laoghaire. An online profile of Cowley gives his nickname as “The Warrior.” On the website for the gym, Cowley says that he began kickboxing in his father, Dave’s, gym at the age of 5. Cowley began Thai boxing at 12. In the discipline, Cowley fought 54 professional bouts.
Cowley told Newstalk that, “Every new person who comes through the door wants to be McGregor. It’s a well known phenomenon, you can see it in all countries, with all sports. You get one person who breaks through, then that encourages the kids to join. It’s not just my club. I hear this from MMA coaches from all over the country. They all got a flood of guys on the Monday after Conor’s [title] fight. Maybe they actually owe me some commission on that.”
5. As a Result of the Incident, 3 Fights From the UFC Card Were Scrapped, Leaving the PPV Event in Disarray
The melee at the Barclay’s Center has thrown UFC 223 into chaos, and it is not clear how the UFC will save the show. Three fights had to be cancelled because of the incident. Artem Lobov, another Irish fighter and friend of McGregor, was removed from his prelims fight against Alex Caceres because of his involvement in the Brooklyn incident. Two fighters were injured during the rampage, Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg, and both are not going to be able to fight. Chiesa, who was scheduled to fight Anthony Pettis, suffered a cut to his head. Borg, who was going to take on Brandon Moreno, was hospitalized after getting glass shards in his eye.
UFC 223 was already on thin ice before the McGregor incident, as its main event changed just days before the event’s scheduled date. On the same morning that McGregor appeared in court, Max Holloway was pulled from the UFC 223 main event against Khabib Nurmagomedov for unrelated reasons, reports ESPN. Holloway was trying to replace Tony Ferguson after Ferguson suffered a last minute injury last week, but was unable to cut the necessary weight to compete against Khabib.
UFC Chief Dana White has called the incident “the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of this company.” There has been no official comment from McGregor in regards to the incident but it’s thought that the fighter is angry at the UFC’s decision to strip him of the Lightweight championship and award it to the winner of the Holloway v Nurmangomedov fight.