UFC president Dana White blasts Miami Heat mascot for incident with Conor McGregor

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It doesn’t sound like the Miami Heat’s mascot Burnie will be recruited to join the UFC anytime soon, with UFC president Dana White questioning the character’s judgement following a bout with Conor McGregor during Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Unfortunately, the man who plays Burnie was taken to the emergency room after the bit with McGregor during a timeout on Friday went awry. A report afterward stated the man received pain medication, was sent home and is doing well.

McGregor, arguably the best-known UFC fighter in the world, was at midcourt as part of an advertising promotion when Burnie came onto the court donned in a robe and oversized gloves. McGregor landed a left hook and then hit Burnie in the face while the mascot was on the ground flat on his back. Burnie received what seemed like playful attention from other participants in the skit, and they started to drag him off.

The Heat did not fare any better than their mascot, losing 108-95 to the Denver Nuggets to get pushed to the brink of being knocked out of the NBA Finals. Miami will try to become only the second NBA team to win the Finals after trailing the best-of-seven series 3-1, starting with Game 5 at Denver on Monday.

The antagonism between Burnie and McGregor may have rubbed off on the Heat following their latest setback. Kevin Love and Kyle Lowry reportedly had a “fierce but constructive” conversation outside the locker room after Game 4, and Udonis Haslem used multiple expletives to address the idea that the Nuggets have a decided edge in talent.

The Heat showed they know how to counterpunch by responding to win Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals after losing three straight to the Boston Celtics, but the Nuggets are showing they are a step up in weight class. Denver has won nine of its past 10 games and would secure its first NBA title with its next victory.

The 34-year-old McGregor has not faced serious competition since breaking his leg in a bout in 2021. He currently is a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality television show.

McGregor reportedly has a legitimate bout scheduled for later this year, and maybe Burnie can convince White he deserves a rematch at some point.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.