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UFC’s Conor McGregor charged with assault in April bar incident

Conor McGregor’s last sanctioned fight will be a year ago Sunday. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t thrown any punches.

The UFC star has been charged with assault in his native Ireland for punching a man at a Dublin bar in April, according to The Independent.

McGregor was formally served a summons and is due in court Oct. 11 on an assault charge that carries a maximum prison term of six months and a fine of about $1,600.

The fighter is accused of punching a man in his 50s who was sitting on a bar stool when the former two-division champion entered the pub to pass out shots of his branded whiskey.

Video of the incident surfaced in August, and McGregor expressed remorse during an interview on ESPN days later.

“I was in the wrong,” McGregor said. “That man deserved to enjoy his time in the pub without having it end the way it did.”

McGregor was arrested in March for smashing a man’s cellphone in the early-morning hours outside a club in Miami. He pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from an April 2018 incident in which he attacked several UFC fighters on a bus during a media event in Brooklyn, New York.

The 31-year-old, who was suspended after his last bout for his role in a post-event melee at T-Mobile Arena, has not announced any specific plans to fight again.

Whittaker set to defend belt

Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will defend the belt for the first time Saturday when he meets interim champ Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia.

It has been a wild two years for Whittaker, who won the title with a decision over Yoel Romero in July 2017. His only fight since then was a victory over Romero in a June 2018 rematch that was not for the belt because Romero missed weight.

Whittaker has battled injury, illness and mental health issues. Now he headlines a massive stadium event in his home country against an undefeated rising star.

“The last couple of years have been a bit up and down, but I feel absolutely amazing,” Whittaker said on a conference call. “I just doubled down on my health, I’m paying close attention to how I’m feeling, how I’m performing and my overall health. And on the back of that I’ve just become stronger and bigger for it.

“I’ve had some weird illnesses. They’re not like little injuries where I’ve pulled out because I’ve hurt my knee. I’ve gotten the chicken pox one time, and then I had emergency bowel surgery the second time. It’s just strange. But I would like to fight more regularly after this.”

The event takes place Sunday morning in Australia to air in the usual pay-per-view time slot of 7 p.m. Saturday in Las Vegas. ESPN Plus will televise the card.

Former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm, who won the title with a knockout of Ronda Rousey the last time a UFC event was at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, withdrew from her fight against Raquel Pennington because of a tendon injury in her leg.

Preliminary card fights will air live at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.

Lee returns at lightweight

Las Vegan Kevin Lee will return to the lightweight division for his next fight after dropping his welterweight debut to former champ Rafael dos Anjos in May.

Lee will fight undefeated lightweight contender Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244 on Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The event will be headlined by a welterweight showdown between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz. Middleweights Darren Till and Kelvin Gastelum also will meet.

More MMA: Follow at CoveringTheCage.com and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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