Award shows have been having a rough time lately — judging by the shockingly low ratings, viewers just don’t seem to care as much anymore.
It is difficult to tell what exactly happened between mixed martial artist/UFC fighter Conor McGregor and rapper/actor Machine Gun Kelly just before the ceremony started at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. One video of the incident — which already had 1.5 million views by early Monday morning — showed a man in a suit on the red carpet holding back McGregor, who then approached a large group of people, including Kelly and his girlfriend, actress Megan Fox.
All of a sudden, a large gasp went up from the crowd, and several handlers grabbed Kelly and pulled him away. People started yelling “Run! Run!” and “Where’s Megan?!” The couple was surrounded by security as they were swiftly led away from the group. “Go this way, get her out this way,” one woman commanded, steering the clearly distressed actress into a less-crowded corner of the carpet. Photos and video immediately started circulating on social media:
Representatives for McGregor and Kelly did not return requests for comment, but everyone seemed fine afterward. Videos showed Kelly and Fox chatting calmly a minute later. Inside the show, McGregor made an appearance early in the telecast, strolling onstage with his cane (he had surgery for a leg injury this summer) to present pop star Justin Bieber with the artist of the year award.
And in the closing moments, Kelly performed a new song with drummer Travis Barker, and they got a special introduction from Fox and Barker’s girlfriend, Kourtney Kardashian. “New York, I need you to get extra loud for our future baby daddies,” Fox told the screaming audience.
In the meantime, multiple media outlets on the scene tried to get to the bottom of the altercation. “What happened?” asked “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent Rachel Smith when she saw McGregor.
“Absolutely nothing,” McGregor said. “I don’t even know the guy, to be honest with you. . . . 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.”
Yikes. Kelly was even more evasive, batting the microphone away when Variety’s Marc Malkin asked what occurred. Fox said something that sounded like, “We’re not allowed to say it,” before trailing off as they departed.
Then the anonymous sources got busy, and the narrative became less clear with each explanation: One source told People magazine and sources told TMZ that McGregor asked to take a photo with Kelly and was denied, which started all the fuss. But McGregor’s rep told Us Weekly that was “totally false,” and added for good measure that Kelly recently attended one of McGregor’s fights. A rep for the UFC fighter also explained to Rolling Stone, “MGK’s security overreacted and pushed Conor.”
Of course, all that overshadowed the actual show, taking place during MTV’s 40th anniversary year. The network enlisted Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Cyndi Lauper to all make special appearances, while the Foo Fighters were presented with the Global Icon Award and Busta Rhymes performed a medley of hits.
Lil Nas X walked away with video of the year, the most prestigious award, as well as best video direction and best visual effects for his latest hit single, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” Breakout star Olivia Rodrigo won three awards, including song of the year for her inescapable smash “Drivers License,” and BTS and Billie Eilish each picked up two trophies.
Doja Cat hosted the three-hour ceremony, and we will leave you with some of her costume changes, which might have gotten more attention if not for the pre-show scuffle.
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