Michael Chiesa is suing Conor McGregor for what transipred at the now infamous media day for UFC 223 earlier this year. Recently MMA Frenzy corresponded with attorney and The Fight Lawyer” podcast host, Dmitriy Shakhnevich, to get some insights on what might happen next.
According to an intial report from TMZ, and a follow up report from MMA Fighting, Chiesa has a filed a lawsuit against McGregor, McGregor Sports and Entertainment, Barclays Center, and others, in connection to the incident. Chiesa was scheduled to fight Anthony Pettis at UFC 223, but had to withdraw from the bout, due to cuts he received from the flying shards of broken glass.
Chiesa has also said that he believes he would have fought for the lightweight title at UFC 223, if he had not been injured on media day. Chiea’s argument being that the UFC eventually had Al Iaquinta fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the title, since Max Holloway had been forced out of the championship fight due to medical issues. Chiesa was ranked higher than Iaquinta.
Below is Shakhnevich’s response to the following questions MMA Frenzy sent him via email.
Can you provide some insights on what the lawsuit could mean for Conor McGregor? In terms of financial damages?
Considering the video evidence that exists of the incident in April, and the fact Michael Chiesa had to withdraw from UFC 223 due to injuries sustained in the incident, in your opinion, how likely is it that the lawsuit will be successful?
The Complaint was commenced against McGregor, McGregor Sports and Entertainment, BSE Global and Barclays Center. Chiesa also sued “John Does,” which is what lawyers do when they want to sue somebody but don’t know the exact name/identity of that person. In this case, those folks would likely be the men with Conor when all of this happened.
Interestingly, Chiesa did not sue the UFC, likely because they already had some sort of agreement worked out (or maybe he just didn’t want to sue his employer).
As can be seen above, Chiesa sued McGregor’s entertainment company. That’s done by plaintiffs sometimes when they want to secure a potential wrongdoer with “deep pockets.” So instead of suing an individual who can become judgment proof, entities are sued. In this case, that’s obviously not true, because Conor has very “deep pockets.” Chiesa’s lawyers just decided to play it safe and sue everyone under the sun. It’s a smart move. They didn’t want to limit their potential recovery sources.
The Complaint includes claims for Negligence, Negligent and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Assault, Battery and Negligent Hiring. Generally, there are basically two measures by which damages are assessed: pain and suffering and loss of earning capacity. From what I understand, Chiesa was stitched up and could not fight that night. Though I believe he has fought since then.
Consequently, unless there is something unknown, then typically, a case like this would not exceed the low six figure range. But because this is such a high-profile matter, all bets are off. Chiesa’s lawyers did not allege a specific monetary sum in the actual Complaint. That’s smart because they don’t want to bind themselves to a figure. So now, the Complaint must be served upon all of the defendants and they will have several weeks to answer.
Importantly though, as discussed earlier, McGregor did admit guilt to this in a criminal case, so there are really no defenses. It’s just a matter of how quickly Conor’s lawyers decide to settle this and how reasonable the demands of Chiesa’s lawyers will be.
In July, McGregor reached a plea deal with New York State authorities, whereby, he plead guilty to one count of disorderly conduct and all other charges were dropped.