In the monied and highly unequal world of the UFC, Dana White's word cannot be taken as a byword for consistency. But even by the promotion's standards, it would have been extraordinary if Conor McGregor escaped any punishment for his antics at a Bellator event in Dublin on Friday last.
In 2014, Jason High shoved the referee after defeat to Rafael Dos Anjos. He was cut from the UFC, with the organisation staying true to White's initial comments on the incident:
As soon as I heard, he's done. You touch the referee, you're done. It's over. You don't do it, I don't care how mad you are, how upset you are. It's unforgivable. Never come back, ever. Ever.
In case you are unaware, McGregor reacted angrily to referee Marc Goddard during Charlie Ward's fight with John Redmond. He ran into the octagon and confronted referee Goddard, and later, when he was refused entry to the octagon, McGregor slapped a Bellator official. McGregor has been quiet since the meltdown, with public comment extending no further than a tweet sent - and deleted - this morning:
Bloke KO'd on floor bout a minute straight and ref trying to say fights not over Conor. That's when I lost it. Fuck yous all.
While McGregor won't meet the same fate as High - he is far too valuable to the UFC - it would be surprising if he does not face some censure. Speaking with Ariel Helwani on tonight's MMA Hour, Mike Mazzulli - the president of the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative and the lead regulator at the event in Dublin on Friday - claims that McGregor has already been punished by the UFC.
He told Helwani that the UFC have pulled McGregor from a UFC card slated for December 30th, for which the Irishman had apparently been included on up to now. There have been plenty of rumours of McGregor's inclusion on that card - fights with Tony Ferguson and Nate Diaz had been mentioned - but nothing had been publicly confirmed by any party.
Here's what Mazzulli told Helwani:
Within two hours, I had executives from the UFC contact me to say that it was completely unacceptable in their eyes, and that they would be doing something. They did inform me that he was set to be on the December 30th card, and he will not be on it. I commend the UFC to some extent for doing that.
Mazzulli said that "Mr McGregor is not bigger than MMA", saying that fighter safety is the most important thing. He also added that he will be speaking to his own attorneys regarding any potential action against the Irish fighter, and claimed that, were McGregor contracted to his organisation while pulling a stunt like this at a separate event, he would have been suspended indefinitely.
"I don't know how many things can happen within a month without anything happening to him" added Mazzulli, referring to the incident in Poland last month.
You can watch the show in full here.