01 Jan Rose Namajunas details trauma suffered from Conor McGregor bus attack ahead of UFC 223
When Conor McGregor launched an attack on a bus filled with UFC fighters in an attempt to get to Khabib Nurmagomedov, there were several athletes affected by his actions.
Michael Chiesa suffered a cut on his head from broken glass due to a shattered window in the bus and he was pulled from a scheduled fight against Anthony Pettis. Flyweight contender Ray Borg dropped out of a fight against Brandon Moreno after he had shards of broken glass get into his eye.
As for Rose Namajunas, she was just days away from a title defense against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and while she wasn’t physically harmed during the assault, the mental trauma definitely took its toll.
The former UFC strawweight champion has rarely talked about the incident involving McGregor but she just recently recounted her experience during that attack on the bus that left her shaken.
“It was like an eternity being in that bus, because I had no idea who that was that was attacking us,” Namajunas said in a Year of the Fighter segment on UFC Fight Pass. “All of a sudden I see a big ol’ fist kind of bang on my window and then I see one of the security guards grab one of the dudes.
“I didn’t know it was Conor until a little bit later. When he threw the dolly, the bus was backing up into the elevator spot as he threw it to the window right in front of me. But had the bus not been moving, it would have hit my window.”
According to Namajunas, she felt some sense of relief after discovering the attack was staged by McGregor and it wasn’t just some random act of violence. That said, the trauma she suffered as a result was still very real as she flashed back to similar incidents that haunted her upbringing.
“In my head, once I found out it was Conor, I was a little relieved, but I still was on edge,” Namajunas said. “It just took me back to when I was a kid, riding to school through bad neighborhoods on a bus and people throwing sh*t at our bus. And I’ve never been completely cornered like that. We were just sitting there not in control. So what did I do in that moment? I said the Lord’s prayer again and then it did make me feel a little bit better at that moment, and it got me through that tough moment.
“And everything that was from my childhood, this is what I fought to get out of, and this is like back to stupid street sh*t that I don’t want to be around that any more. That’s what I fought my way out of. So here I find myself again in this same spot, but then at the same time, I came back around it, like, this is also what I’m here for. So I took it as motivation to show the world that’s not gonna stop me.”
Despite the effect the incident had on her leading up to the fight, Namajunas still decided to compete at UFC 223 but that didn’t come without its own challenges.
“Arriving to the arena itself was hard,” Namajunas explained. “Super hard. Because I was super stressed out from the incident on the bus and going back to the same arena with the same elevator and then the noises of the bus kind of took me back to two days earlier. I was super shell shocked from that. Super tense.
“I was so tense that when Trevor [Wittman] was taping my hands, I was clinching my fist super tight. I turn over my hand and my hand was bleeding. I was like dude, I need to chill out. I need to breathe or something.”
Namajunas said she was still incredibly tense during her walkout but she eventually loosened up once the fight began. In the end, she earned a unanimous decision over Jedrzejzyk in the co-main event.
As for McGregor, he eventually plead no contest to a count of disorderly conduct for his role in the bus assault while also being ordered to perform community service as well as paying restitution for the damage inflicted in the melee.