The fallout from McGregor's intrusion into the ring during Bellator 187 continues tonight, with Referee Marc Goddard issuing a lengthy statement in response to McGregor's statement earlier.
Goddard, who has previous with McGregor after he told him to sit down during Artem Lobov’s fight at UFC Gdanksk, has categorically denied laying hands on McGregor first:
There has been the notion and belief of the fact that I had pushed Conor McGregor when this factually and categorically untrue – please again watch the video and you will see very clearly that I have my arms in between Charlie and Conor whilst trying to tell Charlie to return to his corner and let me make my determination, pushing fighters, or anyone unnecessarily so is simply not in my nature, or protocol of conduct to do so. It is then again, clearly, that you will see Conor McGregor who put his hands on my chest to shove me, I then turn and walk away to go back and check on the condition of Paul Redmond.
Goddard also accused McGregor of threatening to follow up with him after the fight:
Conor McGregor was then forcefully ejected from the cage, whilst still trying to get to me and continuing his verbal tirade and threats, including “seeing me in Birmingham” [my hometown] Conor McGregor’s threats are of no concern to me. He then circled outside of the cage and jumped back up on the cage and when a commission official tried to get him down he struck out to him.
McGregor's statement included an accusation that Goddard did not stop the fight when he should have. Goddard believes McGregor is not qualified to assess that. He feels that a fighters
ability to be safely allowed to continue in a contest is only ever called by the referee, the person in charge of that contest and the sole arbiter. When I am unfairly delayed or robbed of that opportunity from outside and external sources it brings not only the sport into disrepute but from my primary role and function of being able to make the right decision, the correct decision that is both safe and fair to the athlete concerned.
Crucially, Goddard does state he does not want any further punishment to be handed out to McGregor:
I do not wish for any further action to be taken against any party, in particular Conor McGregor, but ultimately that is entirely out of my hands. I hope that the situation can be reviewed, learned from on how we could prevent a repeat instance and then case closed, we move on for the good of the sport.
The full statement can be read here.