Conor McGregor’s Swing at Machine Gun Kelly Was a Brief Shot of Excitement at the VMAs

Pop Culture
For a moment, there were faint traces of peak ’00s VMA energy.

Conor McGregor attends the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12 2021 in Brooklyn.

Conor McGregor attends the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, 2021 in Brooklyn.Courtesy of Jeff Kravitz/MTV VMAs 2021 for Getty Images.

It wouldn’t be a proper VMAs night without some sort of unscripted drama going down. Unfortunately, nothing outrageous happened during the actual broadcast, which is why this year’s show was a snooze — the very last thing the VMAs should be is by the book. (Whither the alleged surprise Kanye appearance?) But there was one bizarre moment before the show that had the timeline buzzing with faint traces of peak 00’s VMA energy—outside on the red carpet, two celebrities almost came to blows… Conor McGregor and Machine Gun Kelly??

In front of the very appropriate backdrop of Atlantic Terminal’s Burlington Coat Factory, where many a drunken fade has doubtless been run the UFC champ can be seen tossing his drink then taking a full on swing at Kelly. The rapper-turned-rocker was, seemingly, simply walking the red carpet with his girlfriend Megan Fox and minding his business, as one does. The stills from the almost-altercation are museum-worthy. You can also watch video from a few angles as well.

At press time, the inciting incident is still unclear — by all accounts, there’s no history of bad blood between the two. Predictably, it seems to have started for no good reason: TMZ reports McGregor attempted to greet and take a picture with MGK, and was rebuffed with a shove, spilling some of McGregor’s drink in the process. Other sources told TMZ that it was MGK’s security who pushed McGregor away.

Whatever happened, cooler heads prevailed, precious liquor was replaced and Megan Fox was protected, because the beef didn’t spill over into the broadcast. McGregor presented an award, while MGK both accepted one and performed himself. Neither party took their onstage opportunity to throw shots. McGregor might’ve gotten the final, hilarious word in though, as he downplayed the incident, telling Entertainment Tonight: “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.”

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