John Locher/Associated Press
UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov shifted the blame for the scenes the marred the end of the UFC 229 main event to Conor McGregor, saying the Notorious set up the brawl with his persistent personal insults and the incident with a dolly at UFC 223.
After the submission win, Nurmagomedov briefly faced the press to apologise to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and explain things from his perspective. MMAFighting.com shared some of the comments (warning: NSFW language):
Nurmagomedov: “He talk about my religion, he talk about my country, he talk about my father, he come to Brooklyn and he broke bus. He almost kill a couple of people. Worry about this. Worry about this shit. Why people talk about I jump over the cage?” #UFC229
Nurmagomedov: This is respect sport. This is not trash talking sport. I want to change this game. I don’t want people talk shit about opponents, talk shit about his father, religion. You cannot talk about religion, nation, you cannot talk about this stuff #UFC229
SportsCenter shared footage of the press conference, which was done after less than three minutes:
Khabib Nurmagomedov addressed the media and apologized to the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the altercation after he defeated Conor McGregor. https://t.co/VyRtCt8YmQ
Nurmagomedov comfortably beat McGregor during Saturday’s main event with a fourth-round rear-naked choke. He had battered the Irishman up until that point, even if the Notorious arguably won one of the rounds—perhaps the first the Russian has ever lost in the UFC.
But as soon as the fight ended, Nurmagomedov went after McGregor’s crew. He exchanged words and jumped out of the Octagon, where things got physical. Sports writer Arash Markazi shared footage of the brawl:
Arash Markazi @ArashMarkazi
The madness outside the Octagon following UFC 229. It looked like Khabib was coming after Conor’s corner and both sides had to be restrained by cops and security. https://t.co/tOHIWgTQb3
While that was going on, men jumped into the cage and went after an exhausted McGregor, who could barely defend himself.
UFC President Dana White later revealed those men were arrested:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
The three members of Khabib’s team who attacked McGregor in the cage post-fight have been arrested, per Dana White https://t.co/eF1F7DUvHw
White even suggested the Russian could be stripped of the title if he is suspended for a long time, per The Independent’s Jack de Menezes. Such a decision would come down to the UFC, however, as MMA writer Marc Raimondi explained:
Marc Raimondi @marc_raimondi
Another thing to note. Commissions don’t strip titles in MMA. Promotions do. So that decision is ultimately up to the UFC.
Tony Ferguson beat Anthony Pettis in the co-main event, setting himself up for a shot at the title. The UFC has been trying to match him with Nurmagomedov for years, so having the Russian sidelined while Ferguson is ready for his shot would be far from ideal.
The bad blood between Nurmagomedov and McGregor will also undoubtedly lead to talks of a rematch.