McGregor met the Russian President at the World Cup final in Moscow four years ago. The pair shook hands and posed for pictures, but McGregor was quickly warned by the President’s security to take his arm off of his shoulder.
After the meeting, McGregor said he gifted Putin the “very first bottle” of his Proper 12 whiskey. The bottle had to be checked by Putin’s security before he drank it, of which McGregor said: “President Putin’s security detail is second to none as I’m sure you know, you don’t mess around with Vladimir.”
President Zelensky recently met with Irish politicians Sean O Fearghail and Mark Daly in Ukraine’s capital. Whilst discussing issues from the Irish delegation to the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine, Mr Daly revealed that President Zelensky was critical of McGregor’s meeting with Putin.
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“He felt he wasn’t being supportive of Ukraine,” Mr Daly told the Irish Independent . “This man is fighting a war but he knows what’s going on all around the world including in Ireland.
Senator Daly said that he and O Fearghail will push the EU to accept Ukraine’s request to join the union. Zelensky also asked for Ireland to sign a scheme in which European countries would adopt a region of Ukraine to help rebuild the country.
“We will be asking our colleagues across Europe to support their application to join the European Union. When they are teaching leadership in universities for years to come, this will be the standard,” he added.
Putin has been at the centre of controversy for several months as Russian forces continue a military assault in Ukraine after years of ongoing conflict between the two countries. McGregor praised Putin’s leadership qualities after the meeting and said it was an “honour” to speak with him.
“This man is one of the greatest leaders of our time and I was honoured to attend such a landmark event alongside him. Today was an honour for me Mr. Putin. Thank you and congratulations on an amazing World Cup,” he said after the 2018 meeting.
McGregor met Putin just several months before his grudge fight with now-retired Russian UFC standout, Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor questioned Nurmagomedov’s loyalty to Putin after the Russian said it “didn’t matter” that the Irishman took a picture with the President.