Wednesday, March 22, 2017 | 1:07 p.m.
Conor McGregor took another step today toward a potential mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The UFC lightweight champ reached an agreement with the Nevada State Athletic Commission to pay a fine resulting from an Aug. 17 incident in which he threw a full can of Monster energy drink and water bottles at Nick Diaz.
The incident started when McGregor walked into the pre-UFC 202 press conference late and Diaz’s camp began throwing water bottles at McGregor, who returned fire.
Today, the commission lowered McGregor’s punishment to $25,000 and 25 hours of community service. It was originally set at $150,000 and 50 hours of community service.
“We didn’t have any precedent to go off of,” said commission Chairman Anthony Marnell. “Throwing a Monster can and a water bottle at a press conference is a first. I think $25,000 is a fair number for what was done. Someone could have gotten really hurt outside of the fighters.”
Following the initial hearing, McGregor disagreed with the punishment and said he would never again fight in Nevada. After four months, the commission agreed the fine was too steep.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing for us to be able to admit when we know we’ve gone too far,” Marnell said. “I think this was the right outcome, and I think everyone agrees with that. Some self-reflection at times is not bad.”
Diaz has already paid the $50,000 fine he received for the incident, but Marnell said he would reach out to Diaz about possibly lowering his fine too.
Once McGregor pays the $25,000 fine, he will be eligible to apply for a boxing license in Nevada.
“I won’t pretend to speak for Conor, but I do know that this does enable him to file for his boxing license now,” said McGregor’s attorney Jennifer Goldstein. “I think with any pending court matter there’s a desire to get it wrapped up.”
According to Marnell, not only will McGregor likely be issued a boxing license, but a potential fight with Mayweather would also likely be licensed.
“As long as he does what he has agreed to, he’s probably going to get a boxing license,” Marnell said. “You have the best boxer probably of all time against one of the best strikers in the UFC. If that does happen, I think it would be hard not to approve that fight.”
McGregor must pay the fine before he can apply for a boxing license, and he has six months to complete the 25 hours of community service. He can complete the hours in the U.S. or in his hometown of Dublin, according to the commission.
“I have a lot of faith that he’ll do the community service and he’ll do it well, based off my discussion with him,” Marnell said.
While McGregor’s change of heart to again be licensed in Nevada and the commission’s willingness to lower the fine appear to be in direct relation to the possible mega-fight, commission Executive Director Bob Bennett said that’s not the case.
“I don’t think the Mayweather fight had anything to do with it when we sat down and met,” Bennett said. “They are two separate issues. It wasn’t an issue that we were even looking at.”