Casual MMA fans who've been keeping up with the drama that is the Conor McGregor story will view what he did over the past few days as typical McGregor behavior that may have crossed the line. Others who know the situation well will tell you, McGregor, and his crew attacking a UFC media day, damaging vehicles and injuring fighters — who had to be removed from the upcoming UFC 223 event — is not a publicity stunt and instead the kind of behavior that has landed McGregor with a series of felony charges that could result in a criminal record, changes to his immigration status and the end of his fight career.
However, TheSportster spoke with "The Fight Lawyer" Dmitriy Shakhnevich in an email interview, who provided support that McGregor likely won't see any jail time.
Shakhnevich explained that while McGregor is facing multiple felonies, many of which could result in concurrent sentences and jail time, "it’s highly unlikely (very highly unlikely) that he’ll see any jail time at all. He’ll likely take a plea and avoid jail time." Facing up to seven or eight years in prison is likely something McGregor would like to avoid at all costs. Therefore, a plea deal makes the most sense.
Shakhnevich explained, however, that while he might stay out of prison, McGregor needs to be aware of how he proceeds with a plea deal because pleading guilty could affect his immigration status and restricted him from coming back to the US—a place where he makes most of his money. Still, Shakhnevich emphasized, a plea deal would keep him out of court and out of prison.
Should McGregor decide to plead innocent, Shakhnevich did suggest McGregor has to look at both sides of what it means to go to trial. "Conor, due to his celebrity status, will likely be able to hire great lawyers, strong investigators, experts and others to assist in providing him an effective defense," said Shakhnevich. "On the other hand, however, his case will be subjected to intense scrutiny. That means a prosecutor may want to obtain an unjust disposition just to have Conor's name on his or her resume."
TheSportster asked Shakhnevich what he thinks will happen. He responded, "This case is still entirely too fresh. His attorneys must obtain the evidence against him, witness lists, any forensic evidence, videotape evidence and the like. The decision as to whether to proceed to trial or take a plea (or explore the details of any plea offers) often takes months and sometimes years. My gut tells me that Conor will be fine."
For fans of McGregor, it is important to remember here that this process is all going to take some time. It can take months, even years to call upon a Grand Jury, collect evidence, file formal charges, and attempt to proceed with a trial. Even if McGregor pleads innocent, he won't be facing potential jail time for a while. But, none of that may matter. Shakhnevich feels like McGregor will plea to a reduced charge and avoid jail time. He figures, "a plea deal will be worked out in this case to avoid any such risks."
Will McGregor learn his lesson? Will it change his behavior? Those questions are yet to be answered.