Perhaps no artist had as eventful an evening at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards as Machine Gun Kelly — who started the night by getting into a reported red carpet tussle with a UFC superstar, ended it by smashing a guitar onstage, and in the interim was declared a “future babydaddy” by his very scantily and scandalously clad VMAs date, girlfriend Megan Fox.
Before the VMAs ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Sunday, mixed martial artist Conor McGregor and the rapper/singer reportedly nearly got into a brawl on the red carpet. A video tweeted by a VMAs attendee appeared to show McGregor lunging and shouting at Kelly as security guards restrained him. Both People and TMZ reported that McGregor asked MGK for a photo and was denied, and a tussle ensued — with Kelly pushing McGregor, who then supposedly retaliated by tossing a drink at Kelly and Fox.
not MGK getting into a fight at the VMAs red carpet pic.twitter.com/KWQeRAbc6Y— mari ᗢ (@olsenspears) September 13, 2021
However, McGregor’s publicist insisted to Us Weekly that this story about the photo request was “totally false,” and McGregor told Entertainment Tonight that “absolutely nothing” happened, insisting, “I don’t know the guy. 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.”
Regardless of what really went down, both stars eventually entered the Barclays to watch the ceremony without further incident. McGregor was a VMAs presenter Sunday and actually announced the winner of a category in which Kelly was nominated, Artist of the Year (that honor went to Justin Bieber), but Kelly did receive the Best Alternative Rock award for “My Ex’s Best Friend,” presented by none other than Tommy Lee, whom Kelly quite convincingly portrayed in the 2019 Motley Crüe biopic The Dirt. (Lee was one of many veteran performers on hand Sunday to help celebrate MTV’s 40th anniversary; others included Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, Ashanti and Ja Rule, and David Lee Roth.)
During his rambling acceptance Best Alternative speech, MGK admitted that he’d initially called his record label the day before “My Ex’s Best Friend’s” release date and begged them not to put the single out at all, and that he’d also gotten in a fight with director Van Alpert on the “My Ex’s Best Friend” video set and they hadn’t spoken since.
One person that Kelly failed to mention during his VMAs speech, surprisingly, was Fox, but she didn’t seem to resent the omission. At the end of the night, when Kelly and Blink-182’s Travis Barker closed the show with a guitar-smashing performance of “Papercuts,” Fox introduced the raucous number alongside Barker’s new girlfriend, Kourtney Kardashian, and gushed: “I’m a huge fan of this next performer. I’ve watched him grow, not just as an artist, but also as a person.” Kardashian cheekily added, “I’m a fan too — and I think his drummer’s super-hot!” Fox then declared, “New York, I need you to get extra-loud for our future babydaddies, Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker!” while the Barclays crowd erupted.
Adding to Sunday’s MGK drama was the fact that Kelly and Barker were not supposed to close the show, according to Us Weekly. According to an eyewitness that spoke with Us, just minutes before MGK and Barker were about to play in their original slot, “Machine Gun Kelly buried himself in a grave as they were setting up to perform. He then burst out of the dirt in his grave, ran offstage and said something to Travis. He was throwing elbows and seemed very upset before running backstage. The crew came and rolled off MGK’s grave and Travis’s huge drum off the stage.” Kelly instead ended up being the last performer of the night. (A representative for MTV did not respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.)