Conor McGregor, one of the biggest stars of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is being investigated over a sexual assault allegation, the second such case in less than 12 months, according to people familiar with the matter.
The most recent allegation relates to a complaint that a woman in her 20s was sexually assaulted in a vehicle parked outside a Dublin pub last week, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of Irish laws surrounding investigations. McGregor, a 31-year-old mixed martial arts fighter who is one of the world’s highest-paid athletes, has not been charged, and the police have yet to interview him about the allegation. He was already waiting to hear whether he would be charged following a complaint that he assaulted a woman in Dublin last December.
The police passed the findings of the investigation in the first case to Ireland’s prosecutor’s office earlier this year. McGregor was arrested in January, questioned by law enforcement authorities and released pending further investigation, per the usual protocol in criminal investigations in Ireland and much of the rest of Europe, where a formal charge does not necessarily follow an arrest.
The allegations have not been proved, and the existence of the investigations does not imply that McGregor is guilty of any crime.
“Conor McGregor is frequently the subject of rumors,” a publicist for the fighter said in an emailed statement. “He emphatically denies any report accusing him of sexual assault.”
A lawyer for McGregor in Dublin did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Born in a tough, working-class section of Dublin, McGregor has helped propel U.F.C.’s popularity worldwide, though he has been involved in a flurry of police cases throughout his career.
Flanked by two bodyguards, McGregor appeared in court last week to answer charges of assaulting an elderly man at a pub in April. That case is still pending, with another hearing scheduled for next month. Security footage purporting to show the incident was leaked to the celebrity news website TMZ.
McGregor has participated in only one U.F.C. fight since 2016, a defeat last October to Khabib Nurmagomedov that ended in disgrace when a brawl broke out between their rival camps at the end of the fight. McGregor announced his retirement from the sport in March, only to hint several times that he would get back into the ring. The UF.C., which did not respond to a request for comment from The New York Times, has not announced any upcoming bouts featuring McGregor.
The Irish news media have reported on both sexual assault cases but without naming McGregor. Laws in Ireland restrict the news media from identifying individuals charged with rape unless they are convicted, which has not happened in either instance. News outlets reporting the identity of a suspect before a charge often face costly libel and breach of privacy lawsuits in Ireland. Publication after a charge is filed could lead to a more serious contempt of court indictment.
Newspapers and broadcasters have instead linked the two cases and typically described the suspect as a famous or well-known Irish sports star. Ireland’s police service, known as the Garda, declined to comment on the profession of the person accused of the second assault.
“Investigations ongoing and no arrests at this time,” a Garda statement said. “Owing to the nature of the investigation we will not be commenting further at this time.”
McGregor’s rapid rise from a destitute mixed martial arts fighter living with his mother to the U.F.C.’s most-prized asset has become one of the biggest stories in Ireland in the past decade. McGregor has largely enjoyed the attention, regularly taking to social media to brag and to show the fruits of his newfound wealth, which peaked in August 2017 when he participated in one of the most lucrative boxing matches — a loss to the undefeated boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor, nicknamed The Notorious, has cultivated a bad boy reputation through over-the-top behavior that has on some occasions led to brushes with the law.
Last July, he pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct after he threw a hand truck at a bus carrying Nurmagomedov and other fighters returning to their hotel from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Two fighters were injured by shattered glass.
Although he has not fought for a year, McGregor continues to be one of the U.F.C.’s most talked-about stars. He has a close relationship with the organization’s president, Dana White, who this week ruled out a December fight — hinted at by McGregor — between the Irishman and the featherweight Frankie Edgar. White has been more tight-lipped when it comes to commenting on the allegations facing McGregor.
In August, five months after The New York Times first named McGregor in connection with the first sexual assault allegation, White said he knew “zero” about it, before adding: “To be honest with you, the back-and-forth that I’ve had with him about that is that it’s not him — it’s somebody else. So I don’t know.”