Scenes more akin to the world of wrestling than the world of UFC marred the main event of UFC 229.
Khabib Nurmagomedov extended his undefeated record by defeating Conor McGregor in convincing fashion, with the end coming via a rear naked choke in the 4th round.
Depending on which side of the fence you sit, the showdown will either be remembered for Khabib firmly cementing himself as the best lightweight fighter in the UFC or for tarnishing his reputation.
The Russian controlled the first two rounds with his superior ground game and looked to end the fight in the second round after an onslaught of punches in the standing mount position. McGregor survived and improved in round three as he managed to defend against takedown attempts.
Khabib came out fresh in round four, dominating McGregor before putting the Irishman in a bout-ending submission.
Then, it was the after fight. I said in my earlier piece that UFC 229 will go down in history and it may do so, but possibly for the wrong reasons.
Khabib, still brewing from the comments McGregor and his team made throughout the build-up in relation to his father, his country, and his religion, decided it was time to teach McGregor’s team a lesson in the same way McGregor attacked Khabib’s team in Brooklyn.
Khabib jumped over the cage and into the crowd. Simultaneously, Khabib’s team ran to stop their man. This is where the details get a little sketchy. It is fact two men attacked McGregor inside the octagon, one from behind, but in terms of who threw the first punch after the fight ended, there are several variations doing the rounds on social media.
Some sources state Khabib’s team punched McGregor first, while others state McGregor punched one of Khabib’s cornermen.
What happened after the fight shouldn’t be a surprise because these two teams hate each other. The two men did not even touch gloves at the start of the fight. If anyone even for a second thought chaos would not ensue was only kidding themselves and hiding away from the truth.
Some will argue that this is sport, with trash talking being an element of the sport will always happen. For others sport isn’t a game, it is a way of life. This way of life is similar to religion and respecting another human being and their values.
In Khabib’s mind McGregor’s cornermen continued the fight after their man tapped. He had proved them wrong once and he wasn’t afraid to immediately do it again. Khabib does not care about money, the UFC, or visas. He cares about his honour and respect, which have been tarnished due to his actions.
McGregor and Dana White are blameless. Khabib has to accept some responsibility for what occurred after the main event, with the other half of the blame lying with Dillon Danis.
There are already comments on a possible rematch in the future. If I was Dana White and in charge of booking UFC events, I would not let these two fight each other again. I wouldn’t even let them be in the same building. People have died in MMA fights in the past, but never in the UFC. If these two men and their teams are allowed to fight again, someone will die.
McGregor lost inside the octagon and couldn’t back up his words. Khabib may have won the battle inside the octagon, but he’s lost what he really fights for: honour and respect. Dana White may also have lost a lot of the hard work he’s put into bringing the UFC into the mainstream arena.
As announced by Dana White in the post-fight press conference, the gate for UFC 229 was approximately $17 million, with 20,000 people having attended the event. According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Nurmagomedov was guaranteed $2 million flat, while McGregor was guaranteed $3 milion.
Watch the post fight brawl here: