It was the scene of one of his most infamous scuffles that led to a courtroom apology and minor fine. Now Conor McGregor has returned to the bar where he assaulted a man in 2019 and is set to buy it.

McGregor is about to buy the Marble Arch pub in his home area of Drimnagh, Dublin 12, for between €1.5 million and €2 million. The purchase will only make a tiny dent in his significant fortune first made as an MMA fighter as well as a second fortune from whiskey. This is the second pub McGregor has purchased in as many years.

In 2020 he bought the Black Forge Pub in Crumlin, which is also in Dublin 12, an area that inspired his popular whiskey Proper 12. McGregor bought the pub for €2 million, and he is spending another €1 million completely gutting and renovating it in order to turn it into a gastropub.

Works on the Black Forge are being overseen by McGregor’s accountant and advisor Alan Geraghty, who is a director of many of his Irish companies. McGregor’s deal to buy the Marble Arch Pub will add to his stable of business interests. The pub was previously owned by successful businessman Chris Kelly whose group owns other bars including Sinnotts in Dublin 2 and Copán in Dublin 6.

Kelly recently successfully sued FBD in the High Court over business interruption cover, as part of a test case taken by a number of other publicans. The Marble Arch is a large pub with a bar, lounge, function room and off licence. It is in good condition, but McGregor is expected to again invest in renovating and expanding it as he has with his first pub.

The Marble Arch in Dublin.

On November 1, 2019 McGregor pled guilty to a single charge of assaulting Desmond Keogh in the Marble Arch pub at 2.30 pm on April 6 of that year. The former UFC champion admitted to punching 50-year-old Keogh after he refused his offer of a drink of his own brand whiskey. CCTV footage of the incident later went viral after it was published in the United States by TMZ, a celebrity and entertainment news website.

In an interview with ESPN five months after the incident, McGregor said he was “in the wrong,” adding “that man deserved to enjoy his time in the pub without it having to end the way it did.”

McGregor said he had “tried to make amends,” but: “I was in the wrong. I must come here before you and take accountability and take responsibility. I owe it to the people that have been supporting me.” 

“I owe it to my mother, my father, my family. I owe it to the people who trained me in martial arts,” he said. “That’s not who I am, that’s not the reason why I got into martial arts or studying combat sports. The reason why I got into it was to defend against that type of scenario.”

McGregor apologised to Keogh in court when pleading guilty, and was fined €1,000. Garda Jason O’Carroll of Crumlin Garda Station said in court that McGregor had punched Keogh “in the left-hand side of the face with a closed fist” while he was looking the other way. He did not suffer any injuries, but had a sore face. 

Fame and fortune

At 32 McGregor is one of Ireland’s wealthiest self-made people for his age. He is estimated to have made more than €100 million from his career as a fighter, and over €100 million again from the sale of his stake in Proper 12 earlier this year to Mexican beverage company Becle. His fortune is somewhere around €250 million. While McGregor has acquired mansions, expensive watches, a collection of sports cars, and given money to his family he is not yet known to have made many significant business investments. Earlier this week he joked about acquiring Manchester United on Twitter, but the football club is not for sale. McGregor also enjoys holidaying on yachts and flying on private jets, but none of this lifestyle expenditure has made much of a dent in his fortune. Acquiring two local pubs in the middle of a pandemic could be McGregor’s way of investing back into his local community, or it could be the start of trying to build up a larger chain.