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MMA

30th Jun 2018

Michael Chiesa finally speaks his mind about Conor McGregor following bus attack

Absolutely furious

Ben Kiely

When Michael Chiesa sat down to face the media in Las Vegas, he knew the Conor McGregor questions were coming

Even though he’s been inactive for over a year-and-a-half, Conor McGregor’s still being talked about. Albeit, these days it’s mostly for the wrong reasons.

Michael Chiesa was in the city of sin yesterday to promote his upcoming fight against Anthony Pettis at UFC 226. However, the top lightweight is no fool. He knew the media present had more pressing matters to ask him about.

“I understand why you guys ask. Whoever wants to ask the first question about Brooklyn, so we can get it out of the way now. Go ahead.”

“Fuck him.”

Chiesa was on the bus that McGregor and his posse attacked at UFC 223 media day. Prior to his media scrum, he had been the only passenger directly affected by the attack that hadn’t really voiced his opinion about it. Ray Borg extended the olive branch, Rose Namajunas most definitely did not while Karolina Kowalkiewicz didn’t seem too bothered either way.

As for Chiesa, he seems to fall into a similar camp to Namajunas. In his eyes, McGregor throwing that dolly through the window cost him a UFC title shot (quotes via MMA Fighting).

“I have no comment on that… but he fucked me out of a title shot. I’ll tell you that much.”

“No, I haven’t heard from him. So, fuck him.”

Conor McGregor

Lost opportunity

Chiesa and Pettis were set to duke it out at UFC 223. However, Chiesa was forced to withdraw from the bout after suffering a facial injury on the bus. The shattered caused by the dolly hitting the window opened up a sizeable gash on his forehead meaning he was unfit to fight that weekend. Interestingly, Chiesa believes the lacerations he suffered cost him a crack at Khabib Nurmagmedov for the 155 lb strap.

Nurmagomedov’s original opponent, Tony Ferguson, withdrew at the beginning of fight week after blowing out his knee. His replacement, featherweight champion Max Holloway was deemed unfit to continue his weight cut by the athletic commission on the day of the weigh-ins.

After that, the highest ranked lightweight on the card was Chiesa. So he feels he would have got the call to move up to the main event slot rather than Al Iaquinta had he been fit enough.

“I don’t really got a lot to say to the guy (McGregor). I lost a title shot. You know what I mean? I have proof. I was the highest ranked guy on the card, I would have stepped in to fight Khabib at the drop of a dime. I’ve always loved a fight with Khabib. Bless his heart, he’s a cool ass guy.  But this is a sport, and I’ve always liked the way I matched up against him, and I got fucked out of that opportunity.”

Conor McGregor

“I don’t really have too many kind things to say to the guy.”

After Holloway was removed from the card, the UFC tried to get Pettis to step in to fight Nurmagomedov. ‘Showtime’ couldn’t reach an agreement with the promotion and they ultimately went with Iaquinta. By the sounds of it, Chiesa would have been easier to deal with than his scheduled opponent when it came down to brass tax.

“You work your whole life for those kinds of opportunities. Do I want mine on short order? No, I’d love a training camp. But, like I said, if they walked in the door now and said, ‘Hey, you want to fight for the title in the next 10 minutes?’ I’m out the door, I’m warming up, I’m ready to go.”

“To lose that opportunity, man, that’s tough. You know how this sport works, guys. Opportunites like that don’t come along. I could string together 15 wins in a row and still not get a title shot. I lost my opportunity at my dream. And, I hope that I’m going to fight my ass off to earn it back starting on July 7 with Anthony Pettis. But yeah, tough, tough pill to swallow.”

“You want some answers, you got some.”

Chiesa had a lot to say about the McGregor situation, but it’s important to remember that he hadn’t said much about it until now. It’s not something he likes ‘wasting energy on’.

“I’m just not thinking about that. I don’t waste energy on that. I’ve wasted enough. Brooklyn was a fucking heartbreaker, to say the least. And this is the most I’ve said about it. I’ve tried to stay mostly closed off, but fuck it. You guys want some answers, you got some.”

As for his love of the fistic arts, that’s not going to lessen because of McGregor. It will take a lot more than a dolly to the bus window to ‘spoil the party’.

“Not one person can ruin my love for mixed martial arts.”

“I’ve loved combat sports my whole life, starting with wrestling. And that goes all the way back to when I was 11 years old. My love for mixed martial arts will never waver. My love for the UFC will never waver. Just because some guy played up some theatrics WWE-style and took it a bit overboard and affected the lives of fighters and workers with the UFC, I’m not going to let one person’s actions directly affect how much I love this sport. The day I fall out of love with it, I’m hanging ’em up. It’s not worth it.”

“If you’re gonna get punched in the face, elbowed, cut up, busted up, injured, have to cut weight, have to bring yourself to the brink of death to show up the next day and try to put on the performance of your life, you’ve got to love it. And if I don’t love it, it’s just not worth it to me. And that love will never die. I’m not going to let one guy spoil the party.”