In the fourth round of his comeback fight at UFC 229, Conor McGregor tapped out against his opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov, giving Nurmagomedov the title of UFC’s undisputed lightweight champion. But his long-awaited victory only lasted seconds after the submission as the professional fighters became street brawlers.
Without even giving the respect of shaking McGregor’s hand after the fight ended, Khabib immediately leapt out of the octagon and went straight for McGregor’s training partner, Dillon Danis.
Chaos erupted and a few members of Nurmagomedov’s team took advantage of the opportunity and attacked McGregor in the ring.
According to the Los Angeles Times, UFC President Dana White said that this was the biggest night of the year and he was disgusted. He went on to say that it would not be surprising if Nurmagomedov receives a lengthy suspension and has his belt stripped.
“I’ve been doing this for 18 years, and this is the biggest night ever, and I couldn’t be more disappointed,” White said to CBS Sports. “You know, I’m not usually mad at everything. [Tonight] I’m not really mad, I’m just disappointed.”
Really, Dana? You love blood lust just as much as the next guy and money goes in your pockets regardless. You’re not disappointed about this fight, you got rich from it.
It’s nothing new that these two fighters have had their issues in the past, but taking it to this personal level of violence could have been avoided and the blame shouldn’t be on the fighters, but on the way UFC operates. There’s a lot of finger pointing about who started it and what his punishment should be, but no one’s pointing the finger in the right direction.
After refusing to give Nurmagomedov the championship belt and withholding his $2 million check from the fight indefinitely, the UFC is now deliberating how to handle the fallout from the fight and trying to punish the right people. The UFC is a huge business and they have a big mess to clean up.
If they want someone to own up to their mistake, they should look back at themselves. All of this fueled up anger and tension is the UFC’s own fault from its own doing, how could it not account for the fighters to finally unleash their frustrations from all of the publicity? Security was unprepared for that as they struggled to maintain control, maybe they need to take fight lessons as well if brawls are going to be the new money maker.
The fight business boosts trash talkers up to get more viewers. McGregor has insulted Nurmagomedov’s religion, family and politics which has been deemed fair game for a fighter’s comments. But shortly after the brawl ended, Nurmagomedov addressed the media in his stance on McGregor’s part in insulting him, questioning why the media was talking more about his leap over the cage and not about McGregor’s disrespect for him. He went on apologizing for his actions after the fight, but not apologizing for defeating McGregor.
People love this kind of exposure and entertain it as much as possible to see if the fighters can put their money where their mouth is, and as long as the camera is on them, the money comes — marketing at its finest. So why not hold back on what you say or do if you have a whole team, fan base, and business getting in your head and supporting you kicking your opponent’s ass. Give the people what they want, right?
The main contributor in this fight was the UFC itself. It lives for this kind of trash talking and beef between fighters because it’s profit for the organization. The more attention a fight gets, the more sponsors and partnerships are gained. Promotional profit is very calculating, especially in the fight business. It manipulates the media and hypes up the fighters to create a storyline and make money by encouraging a feud that shouldn’t be there.
If Nurmagomedov and McGregor weren’t long-time opponents getting fed bullshit from their teams, they would actually respect each other as fighters. They each disrespected one another, going head to head for what reason? The UFC had the power to take two skilled fighters both headstrong, daring and who fight with purpose and make them waste that talent over people’s opinions and profit. As strong of fighters as they are, Nurmagomedov and McGregor were both so brainwashed from the greed and all of this attention that they failed to realize the UFC’s manipulation, which ultimately character assassinated both of them.