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Man playing Heat mascot sent to hospital after skit with Conor McGregor during Game 4

2023 NBA Finals - Denver Nuggets v Miami Heat

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 9: Connor McGregor and Mascot Burnie of the Miami Heat perform during halftime against the Denver Nuggets during Game Four of the 2023 NBA Finals on June 9, 2023 at Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

It was noteworthy at the time because Heat fans were booing UFC superstar Conor McGregor.

Erik Spoelstra had called timeout with 7:35 left in the third quarter after the Nuggets strung together three straight buckets at the rim to push their lead up 10. There was a growing, palpable unease with Heat fans inside the Kaseya Center that these Nuggets were different from the East teams Miami had beaten to reach this stage. That moment was a weird time for a skit-and-promotion at center court where McGregor pushed his new pain relief spray. Part of the staged bit was McGregor getting in a fake fight with Burnie, the Heat’s beloved mascot (wearing a boxing robe and giant gold boxing gloves). McGregor punched and knocked out Burnie as part of the skit. The combination of the timing during the game and the vibe of the skit had Heat fans booing McGregor.

The punch turned out to be more real than expected and the man inside the Burnie costume had to be taken to the hospital, reports Sam Amick of The Athletic.

According to a league source briefed on the matter, the man was given pain medication by the doctor and has since been sent home and is doing well.

It’s good news the man is getting better.

It was one of several unusual moments during Game 4, including a five-minute delay to check and straighten one rim after a Bam Adebayo dunk. McGregor stayed for the rest of the game, a Heat loss putting them in a 3-1 hole in the Finals.

In retrospect, pretty much nothing about the center court promotion worked as hoped.