At the recent MTV Video Music Awards 2021, rapper Machine Gun Kelly and UFC champ Conor McGregor had to be separated after getting into a physical altercation just before the broadcast of the award show at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
After the incident, a source told People magazine that McGregor, who was a presenter at the award show, had asked Kelly for a photo, but that his request was denied by the star’s team. An eyewitness confirmed parts of that account, telling Variety that McGregor was trying to approach Kelly, who was standing in line for red carpet photos when the MMA fighter was stopped and pushed by the artist’s security.
Continuing to press forward, Kelly “sort of snarled” at McGregor, said an observer who noted that McGregor, while walking the carpet with a cane following a recent injury in the ring, “fell back and dropped his cane.” He held onto most of his drink, though, yelling something along the lines of “that fucking punk punched me.”
Sources from TMZ were quoted as saying that McGregor stumbled, spilt his drink then threw the remainder at Kelly. “Conor went in on it a little bit,” the source said, noting that the fighter after dropping his cane, retrieved it and began swinging it in Kelly’s direction.
Another source told Page Six that security had to get involved and “everyone was screaming.” “[McGregor] was ready to throw fists,” the source said, adding, “Security was having trouble holding him back.”
McGregor’s handlers were “begging him” to let it go and it seemed Kelly and girlfriend Megan Fox did. Shortly after, Kelly and Fox, wearing a Mugler dress, walked the carpet posing for photographers. Prior to the show, Kelly shared a picture of the couple dolled up for the evening with a sweet caption: “I found a mermaid.”
McGregor, dressed in a pink sports jacket, black frilled shirt and black pants, walked soon after with girlfriend Dee Devlin. He was at the VMAs to present the artist of the year award to Justin Bieber.
Why is Conor trying to fight Machine Gun Kelly at the VMA awards. pic.twitter.com/MoN9qa9guU
— Jason Williams (@jasoneg33) September 13, 2021
After the whole incident, McGregor spoke with Entertainment Tonight and said that “absolutely nothing” happened and he doesn’t fight “little vanilla boy rappers.” “Absolutely nothing. I don’t know. He showed up, and I don’t know. I don’t know the guy,” said McGregor when the outlet asked him for details of what led up to the fight.
He further continued, “Nothing happened with me, I only fight real fighters, people that actually fight, you know what I mean. I certainly don’t fight little vanilla boy rappers. I don’t even know the guy. I don’t know anything about him, except that he’s with Megan Fox.”
“I only fight real fighters…I certainly don’t fight little vanilla ice white rappers…I don’t know anything about him except he’s with Megan Fox”
McGregor on the mic>>>pic.twitter.com/Gx3y0x6Dia
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 13, 2021
While speaking to Variety backstage, Kelly declined to comment on the “scuffle” and exasperatedly covered the mic. “We’re not allowed to say,” demurred Fox. While Kelly’s representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Variety, a representative for McGregor denied her client asked the singer for a photo.
The representative, at the time, said, “Conor and Dee are in their seats enjoying the show. Conor appreciates all his fans. Conor does not know MGK other than someone who attended his last fight.”
As per People magazine, a video captured by a VMAs attendee and shared to Twitter appeared to show McGregor lunge toward Kelly and shout at him as security guards held him back. It doesn’t seem that MGK and McGregor had any prior beef and the singer was even seen attending his UFC 260 fight in Los Vegas with Fox as well as Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker in March.
At the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, hosted by Doja Cat, Kelly was scheduled to perform his new song ‘Papercuts’ with Travis Barker about halfway through the awards show, but just as the stage crew was readying the production, it was pushed back to the end of the broadcast. It’s unclear why the last-minute change was made, or whether the red carpet scuffle had anything to do with it.