Update November 2, 2015 – Conor McGregor’s teammate, Gunnar Nelson, recently provided an interview indicating McGregor was indeed injured going into UFC 189 telling Submission Radio that “He showed up on one leg. That’s basically what happened. He did the best he could. He was injured. There’s no doubt. He was injured going into the fight and still performed. I think that’s very respectful.”
If the Nick Diaz saga and the Manny Pacquiao lawsuits have not gotten the point across let me take a stab at it, lying, under oath, on a pre-bout medical questionnaire can come with a host of legal consequences such as lawsuits, perjury charges, suspensions, fines and even convictions for criminal fraud.
Conor McGregor may be the latest member to test these legal waters. Last week McGregor revealed during a fan Q and A period that “fourteen weeks before the fight (UFC 189) I tore 80 percent of my ACL“. Was this profound injury healed by the time of the bout? Apparently not with McGregor going on to note “I went into that fight and I beat Chad on one leg“. An admirable feat.
So this injury must have been disclosed to the Nevada State Athletic Commission on McGregor’s pre-fight medical questionnaire right? Not quite. I’ve obtained a copy via public records request from the NSAC and it reveals that he checked no to the question “Have you had any injury to your knees, ankles, or feed that needed evaluation or examination”
He does reveal that he had an ACL surgical repair which presumably relates to his 2013 surgery, not this recent reported injury. McGregor is known for his hyperbole. Perhaps he was exaggerating matters in his recent Q and A session with fans where he revealed this injury. If so then no harm no foul. Or perhaps his 80% ACL Tear did not “need evaluation or examination” which would make the answer truthful but this is hard to imagine. If this is not hyperbole, however, and he was not candid with the NSAC then he may just find himself as the latest athlete forced to answer for his under oath representations to the regulator.
The fate of the US Manny Pacquiao class action lawsuits are unclear but fighters should beware that the Supreme Court of Canada recently cleared the way for class action exposure to athletes who are not candid with government regulators. Canada’s highest court agreed with reasoning that compared sports gamblers to investors who are allowed to rely on the integrity of regulatory filings and dishonesty in these can constitute criminal fraud –
“where there is a failure to disclose material non-compliance with the regulatory scheme, it is no answer to say bettors may have relied on other factors in making their bets. Bettors were entitled to assume compliance with the regulatory scheme when weighing those others factors and coming to a final decision. Non-compliance with the regulatory scheme in a manner so as to affect the outcome of a race necessarily puts the bettors’ economic interests at risk. Bettors were deprived of information about the race that they were entitled to know; they were also deprived of an honest race run in accordance with the rules.”
The consequences for dishonesty with regulatory filings are not academic. For McGregor’s sake, hopefully his comments were nothing more than hyperbole and he does not become the latest focal point of the legal world colliding with combat sports regulation.