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Conor McGregor is scheduled to appear in a Brooklyn courtroom on Thursday to answer to several charges stemming from his April attack on a bus carrying UFC fighters from a media event ahead of UFC 223. Two of the charges against the former two-division UFC champion are felonies.

Conor McGregor arrives at Brooklyn Supreme court in New York on June 14, 2018, stemming from his April attack on a bus at Barclays Center. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

According to USA TODAY Sports, McGregor is likely to accept a plea deal that will allow him to avoid jail time. McGregor was filmed throwing a hand dolly through a bus window. The broken glass injured Ray Borg and Michael Chiesa. Those injuries resulted in both fighters being removed from the UFC 223 fight card.

If the case is resolved, it will not be a shock for the UFC to immediately work on booking McGregor, who is by far the biggest star on the promotion’s roster, for his next fight. That would send the wrong message to other UFC fighters.

On the day the incident took place, UFC President Dana White sounded like he was ready to wash his hands of McGregor.

“This is the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company,” White told MMAjunkie.

White then added that he was “absolutely not” interested in being in business with McGregor.

The UFC also released a statement on the day of the incident. That statement indicated the promotion was “currently working on the consequences that will follow.”

A few weeks after the incident, White’s stance had softened a great deal.

“We’ll see,” White told TMZ when asked about punishment for McGregor. “We’ll see what happens. … He’s got to be punished by the law first, but let’s see what happens in New York.”

Nearly three months later, White’s stance has not changed on the subject.

“I’m not even thinking about Conor until – I’m serious,” White said at the post-UFC 226 press conference. “I know they’re saying there are talks, but we’re not talking about a fight right now. Conor has to get through July. Whatever’s going to happen to him in July, we’ll figure that out. I don’t know what’s going to happen.

“Is he going to get fined? Is he going to be on probation? Is he going to get this, that? When that’s over with, then we’ll start talking about him fighting.”

The odds are good that the UFC will consider whatever punishment McGregor receives from the New York court as adequate and call it a day.

The fact is that McGregor is worth too much money to the UFC. He is by far the biggest pay-per-view draw in the promotion’s history and a fight between him and current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov would draw huge numbers (and profits) for the UFC. And if the UFC really wants to go crazy, it could book him against another former two-division champion, Georges St-Pierre, and most likely shatter the current UFC PPV record. The reality is that McGregor, who ha not fought for the UFC since November 2016, could be matched up against just about any fighter between 145 pounds and 175 pounds and that contest would draw huge numbers. That’s not something the UFC is likely to walk away from – under any circumstances.

The UFC has already failed to punish McGregor in the past.

McGregor jumped into the cage at a Bellator event in November and shoved referee Marc Goddard. The UFC’s punishment for that was to allegedly pull him from a fight at UFC 219. An event McGregor was never scheduled to fight at in the first place. That made for a good story if you didn’t think too much about it.

The Brooklyn fiasco was much more visible and much more high profile. To allow McGregor to walk away without sanctions would set a terrible precedent. If McGregor receives no suspension and no fines from the UFC, it confirms what McGregor already seems to think – that he can do pretty much whatever he wants without repercussions.

McGregor has already inspired other fighters to emulate his over-the-top personae and trash-talk. If he goes unpunished by the UFC, that could further encourage other fighters on the UFC roster. McGregor has set the tone in the UFC in a lot of ways, inaction on the UFC’s part in this matter will allow the brash pugilist to do so once again.

The promotion’s code of conduct states:

“fighters shall conduct themselves in accordance with commonly accepted standards of decency, social conventions and morals, and fighters will not commit any act or become involved in any situation or occurrence or make any statement which will reflect negatively upon or bring disrepute, contempt, scandal, ridicule, 0r disdain to the fighter or the UFC.”

McGregor blatantly violated the code of conduct and he needs to face consequences for his actions and those consequences should be substantial.

We’ll find out shortly if White and the UFC have the nerve to sanction the promotion’s biggest star or if McGregor will once again walk away with his head held high and his pockets full.

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