Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Conor McGregor at UFC 229 to retain the lightweight championship belt, then he scaled the Octagon and brawled with McGregor’s jiu-jitsu coach Dillon Danis.
As a brawl broke out in the seating area, it spilled into the Octagon. Members of Nurmagomedov’s camp jumped into the Octagon and started swinging at McGregor.
After the incident, UFC president Dana White refused to put the lightweight championship belt on Nurmagomedov, fearing for the fighter’s safety.
Nurmagomedov’s submission of McGregor came via rear-naked choke at 3:03 in the fourth round.
What Got Khabib So Heated?
“Dillon (Danis) was absolutely insulting Khabib, saying something to him and provoking him and then Khabib just jumped over the cage and attacked him,” commentator Joe Rogan said, according to ESPN’s Chamatkar Sandhu. “I couldn’t believe my eyes while it was happening.”
Nurmagomedov and McGregor have a messy history, predating the latter’s infamous attack on a bus full of UFC fighters that left Ray Borg and Michael Chiesa injured by shattered glass.
When Max Holloway stepped in to replace an injured Tony Ferguson on the UFC 223 card to fight Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title, the Russian mocked McGregor for not stepping up.
“Where is this Burger King?” Nurmagomedov said in reference to the Irishman’s fast-food promotion, via MMA Fighting. “Take this Burger King here.”
He added: “I think [the UFC wants] him to look nice. He famous. If I change his face … they won’t take somebody who has crazy face.”
Then on April 3, Nurmagomedov engaged in a verbal confrontation with McGregor associate Artem Lobov. Two days later, McGregor threw a dolly through the window of a bus carrying Nurmagomedov at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Both fighters were escorted out of the arena.
“The Nevada State Athletic Commission is holding both their checks,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamato. “We’re turning over film to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, they’re going to watch the — I mean, this is a big deal. It could be suspension for Khabib. You know, are these guys going to get visas again to get back in the country? Big fines, that’s why they’re holding their purses. It’s a big deal.”
Shortly after White’s comments, officials decided against withholding McGregor’s pay.
White told FS1 that three members of Nurmagomedov’s camp had been arrested.
“Three of those guys have been arrested and taken to jail,” the UFC president said. “Yeah the three guys that were involved in the incident — I believe it was those three — are on their way to jail right now.”
Terez Owens posted footage of the arrests.
However, according to freelance reporter David Bixenspan, Nurmagomedov’s associates were released because McGregor refused to press chargers.
White is reportedly unsure if Nurmagomedov will be stripped of his title.
“First of all, I want to say sorry to the athletic commission, Nevada and sorry to Vegas,” Nurmagomedov said during the post-fight press conference, according to ESPN. “This is not my best side. I’m a human being, but I don’t understand how people can talk about jumping on the cage when he talks about my religion, he talks about my country, he talks about my father and he comes to Brooklyn and he broke the bus and almost killed a couple of people. What about this? Why are people talking about my jumping over the cage? I don’t understand. … You cannot talk about religion, you cannot talk about nations, you cannot talk about this stuff. This is for me very important.”
The Russian’s first defense of his UFC lightweight title brings his overall MMA record to 27-0; he’s 11-0 in the UFC. McGregor’s record falls to 21-4 overall and 9-2 in the UFC.