Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight contender Michael Chiesa was forced to pull out of the UFC 223 card against his opponent Anthony Pettis back in April after a group led by former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor attacked the media bus he was in just days prior to the event.
The Irishman picked up a loading dolly and threw it at the window of the bus, shattering the glass and injuring Chiesa, who sustained a cut to his forehead from a shard of glass.
The bus attack by McGregor was allegedly in retaliation to McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov being confronted by Khabib Nurmagomedov in the hotel lobby days before.
Originally, featherweight champion Max Holloway was set to take on Nurmagomedov, but couldn’t make weight in time and was deemed medically unfit to compete. With Holloway’s exit, the UFC looked to other lightweight fighters on the card and had Chiesa not been forced to withdraw through injury, he would have been the logical replacement for the vacant lightweight title.
Chiesa recently talked about the incident and the opportunity missed as a result of McGregor’s actions (via MMAFighting.com):
“I don’t really got a lot to say to the guy. I lost a title shot. 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 the 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 f*cked out of that opportunity. I don’t really have too many kind things to say to [McGregor]. You work your whole life for those kinds of opportunities. Do I want mine on short order? No, I’d love a training camp. Like I said, if they walk in the door now and say, ‘Hey, do 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.”