Image Credit: [Independent.ie]
The biggest fight in UFC history ends in disgrace as a melee involving both fighters’ corners erupted.
UFC 229 and its main event, Khabib Nurmagamedov vs Conor McGregor, was touted as the biggest fight in UFC history. It succeeded in delivering as a spectacle, but for all the wrong reasons.
The fight for the Lightweight title had been highly anticipated, not just because of the ability of the two men inside the cage, but also because of their actions leading up to the fight. Conor was up to his usual trash talking, insulting the Russian’s family, religion and country preceding the fight. However, it was McGregor throwing a dolly at a bus Khabib was on, which was in retaliation to the altercation between Khabib and McGregor’s sparring partner Artem Lobov, that turned this into a grudge match.
The Irishman defended the early takedown attempts well in the opening round and when wrestled to the ground he seemed content to conserve his energy and simply minimise the damage his opponent could inflict. Khabib managed to knock McGregor down in the second round before mauling him with his signature ground and pound for the entire round. The third round was McGregor’s best, connecting with more strikes and avoiding the mat.
Khabib ended the fight in the middle of the fourth round with his opponent tapping out to a neck crank. This extended Khabib’s already unbelievable undefeated streak to 27-0 and dealt McGregor only his second UFC loss.
However, it was the post-fight scenes that created all the headlines, as a brawl between the two camps erupted after Khabib’s victory. Instead of celebrating with his team, the Russian vaulted over the cage and jumped at McGregor’s jiu-jitsu coach Dillion Danis, who punched Khabib mid-air. This triggered a further brawl between McGregor and other members of Khabib’s corner with three of them going inside the cage and assaulting him.
Three of Khabib’s teammates were arrested, but released without charges, as McGregor chose not to press any. Khabib’s purse has also been suspended and both men await a hearing by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the UFC’s governing body, in November over their actions. Both men are likely to be fined and suspended, but Dana White, president of the UFC, has said he will not strip Khabib of his title. Potential visa issues could also render both men unable to fight in the US.
It is unfortunate and embarrassing for the UFC that the post-fight scenes were discussed more than the action inside the octagon. This will of course further the view that some people maintain that combat sports are too violent and out of control. However, at the same time, this has created a huge buzz around the two fighters and they will undoubtedly continue to draw huge amounts of money and remain two of the top stars of the sport.