- Man punched by Irish MMA icon in Dublin bar ‘very shaken’ by incident and ‘didn’t leave the house for days’
- McGregor says ‘I must get my head screwed on’ and ‘stop reacting to the bait’
The elderly man punched by Conor McGregor in a Dublin pub has called him "a bully with money" as the UFC star broke his silence to admit his guilt and apologise.
The victim " who spoke to the Irish Daily Star on condition of anonymity " had refused a shot of the former two-division UFC champion's personal "Proper No 12" whiskey brand.
Last week, TMZ published footage of the April 2019 incident, with Irish police are investigating.
"I can take a punch. It was sore for about a week. It wasn't killing me or anything. I don't like the man. I think he is getting a bad rep," the victim said. "He is a bit of a bully. A bully with money. I'm glad people saw the video. I don't like him."
"He didn't feel the pain of it at the time but the next day he was in bits. It was a proper hard hit," a source close to the victim told the Irish Sunday Mirror.
"His face was very sore. He was very shaken by the whole thing and didn't leave his house for days. At the end of the day he doesn't want an apology or any money, he just wants justice for what happened to him."
McGregor gave a 41-minute interview to ESPN's Ariel Helwani on Thursday night, saying that seeing the video was "like a dagger into my heart".
"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 … I tried to make amends and I made amends back then. But it doesn't matter.
"I must come here before you and take accountability and take responsibility. I owe it to the people that have been supporting me. I owe it to my mother, my father, my family. I owe it to the people who trained me in martial arts. That's not who I am. That's not the reason why I got into martial arts or studying combat sports. The reason I got into it was to defend against that type of scenario."
The 31-year-old, who last fought in October 2018, said he would face the consequences for his "unacceptable behaviour" if he is charged by police.
"I must get my head screwed on and just get back in the game and fight for redemption, retribution, respect " the things that made me the man I am," McGregor said. "And that's what I will do.
"I must get this right and I must not go down that path, the written path, the cliche of the fighter that has it all and ruins (it)," he added. "I need to be aware of my past, of the past of other individuals, and learn from it and grow and that's what I'm doing."
McGregor, who avoided prison time in the US after attacking a bus containing UFC fighters with a metal dolly in New Jersey last April, also suggested he needs to stop "reacting to the bait".
"I need to just stop reacting to the bait," McGregor said. "People are trying to bait me into things. Am I the fish or am I the whale? I must be calm, I must be Zen. I must lead by example.
"There's so many people looking up to me. How can I react in this way? I need to get ahold of this and, like I said, I'm working very hard to do this."
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