Conor McGregor is reportedly under investigation for sexual assault in Ireland

Conor McGregor is reportedly under investigation for sexual assault in Ireland

Conor McGregor, a mixed martial artist with a working-class background who rose to become one of the UFC's biggest stars, is reportedly under investigation for sexual assault in his home country of Ireland. According to the New York Times, a woman claimed he sexual assaulted her at The Beacon Hotel in Dublin last December. Sources told the Times that he has not been charged with a crime, but he is still under investigation by local police.

Hours earlier, McGregor announced his retirement from MMA, tweeting, "Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as 'Mixed Martial Art' today. I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!" The news came so suddenly, and amidst several promised matches and rematches, that many fans didn't take it seriously.

In the wake of the sexual assault allegation, some wondered if McGregor's retirement announcement was a public relations smokescreen. However, Karen Kessler, a spokesperson for McGregor’s legal team asserted that there is no connection. "This story has been circulating for some time and it is unclear why it is being reported now," she said in a statement. "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."

On Monday, McGregor appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and gave no indication he was considering retirement. "I am set for life, my family is set for life," said the 30-year-old. "I’ve done a lot, I’ve fought a lot. I’ve never pulled out of contests. I’ve gone through some crazy injuries, some crazy external situations that many a man would sprint for the hills if it happened to them. But I stood firm [and] done my piece for the company. Like I said, this whiskey [one of McGregor’s business interests] is my baby. I have a lot of great entities. I don’t necessarily need to fight."

In Ireland and many European countries, an arrest is not always followed by a formal charge. Last January, local law enforcement arrested, questioned, and released McGregor, according to the Times' sources. Under Ireland's strict laws, the media cannot identify individuals charged with rape unless they are convicted, lest the publication risk a costly libel lawsuit. Rather than confirm that McGregor is the suspect, Irish police and journalists have referred to him as "famous sportsman."

"Investigations are ongoing in this case and at this time a file continues to be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions," read a police statement.

A couple weeks ago, the larger-than-life UFC star was arrested for an altercation with a fan. In January, he was banned from fighting for six months and fined $50,000 for his actions in brawl that followed his defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov, his first fight since 2016.