To Putin’s Delight, Khabib Took Down McGregor At UFC 229, Then ‘Total Chaos’
Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 05:46PM in Conor McGrregor, Khabib, UFC, UFC, UFC 229, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

Ocotber 7, 2018: The fight that was months in the making and labeled as the most anticipated in UFC history, lived up to most expectations, with UFC president Dana White saying in a post-229 press conference, “(Everything in the Octagon) went perfect. I was thinking this is too eerie. Everything went smooth.”

But when the headline match between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor Saturday night (Oct. 6) in Las Vegas was over, with McGregor submitting in the fourth round, even hard-core MMA fans were stunned to see what happened next.

“Khabib is screaming at (McGregor’s) corner. Screaming at (McGregor’s team member) Dillon Dannis!” said the commentators on PPV. “Khabib jumps the fence! No! No! No! He’s going right at Dillon Danis. Mayhem! Total chaos here! (When Khabib’s guys jump into the Octagon and start to punch McGregor) All hell has broken loose!”

“I saw one of Conner’s guys (Dillon Danis) yelling at Khabib,” White said during the post-fight media conference in T-Moble Arena. “Khabib ran and jumped over the Octagon and went after him. Then eventually two of Khabib’s guys got into the Octagon and hit Conner with some shots.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission pulled the footage from us. There is an investigation going on. They are withholding Khabib’s purse. They are not withholding Conner McGregor’s (purse).”

White said McGregor as the victim of an attack could have pressed charges with the Las Vegas PD but did not. White said three men he believed to be from Khabib’s team were arrested but released.

Two of the men who jumped into the Octagon were UFC fighters, said White. “They will never fight (with us) again.”

Khabib now 27-0, also attended the post-fight media conference, appearing at the podium after While left.

McGregor (21-4) did not make an appearance. This was his first appearance for UFC since November 2016 and first time in bout since losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the boxing ring in August 2017.

The bad blood between the two fighters dates back longer, but escalated after an incident in April when McGregor smashed the window of a bus in which Nurmagomedov and his entourage were sitting following a UFC 223 media event in Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

McGregor, said his action was in retaliation to a situation involving Khabib and crew against McGregor’s UFC teammate Artem Lobov.

in July, McGregor pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was fined and put on probation, but did not have to serve any jail time.

At the UFC 229 media conference, Khabib came out with his belt and spent about six minutes at the podium. He didn’t answer questions.

“I want to say I'm sorry to the (Nevada State) Athletic Commission, to Las Vegas. This is not my best side. People are taking about how I jumped (over) the cage. But what about when (McGregor) talked about my religion, my country, my father. He came to Brooklyn and broke the bus, he almost killed a couple of people.”

“You cannot talk about religion, about someone’s father. This is not a trash-talking sport. This is a respect sport.”

Khabib said he knows of one significant person who will be angry with him and another who praised him.

“When I go home my father is going to smash me (for the way I behaved),” said Khabib.

As he left, Khabib, who fights out of Russia, said, “The media was talking about how I took a picture with (Russia president Vladimir) Putin. He just called me. He said he was very proud of me and congratulations on the win.”

During his time at the media conference, White said he feared the situation would escalate if he went into the Octagon as he normally would after a title fight to put the belt on Khabib.

“Being there, I felt that what was going on . . . I have to start worrying about the fans and what’s going on inside the arena. I felt if we put the belt on him in the middle of the Octagon, it was going to rain (debris).

“I felt people were going to throw whatever they had into the Octagon and it would be a dangerous situation. I thought, we are going to be lucky just getting (Khabib) out of here without him getting pelted.”

Numbers for UFC 229 were strong, according to White, including a $17.2M gate and attendance in T-Mobile Arena 20,034.

The numbers were not so good for Khabib, at least for the time being.

"The Nevada State Athletic Commission pulled the footage from us. There is an investigation going on. They are withholding Khabib’s purse," said White. "They are not withholding Conner McGregor’s (purse).”

Pre-fight, White was predicting a UFC PPV record, with his estimate being between 2.5-3 million. “PPV numbers won’t be in for a while” he said at the post-fight media conference.

Sponsors included Monster Energy, Modelo, AutoZone, AirAsia, Paramount Pictures (for the upcoming movie Overlord), Oscar Mayer P3 and Proper No. 12 Irish Whiskey, in which McGregor has an investment.

An exasperated White said that he has been working hard for 18 years to build this sport and that “this is not what a MMA fight is about.

"The Nevada State Athletic Commission pulled the footage from us. There is an investigation going on. They are withholding Khabib’s purse."

"The (Khabib-McGregor bout) itself, which we worked hard to build over the past several months, went perfect. I was thinking this is too eerie. Everything went smooth. We took all the right precautions. We’ve never had so many Metro Police officers in the building.

“Khabib scaled that fence so fast nobody could do anything. But security did a great job of containing it. I was at the Tyson-Holyfield fight and that thing was crazy. It spilled out into the crowd, it spilled out into the casino. I had visions of that. I was there. It was (effin) scary.”

White was referring to a WBA heavyweight bout between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield on June 28, 1997, which took place in the nearby MGM Grand Garden Arena. In the third round, Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield’s right ear.

Even Tyson himself was take aback at what happened following the Khabib-McGregor match,

“Watching the @TheNotoriousMMA vs @TeamKhabib fight,” Tyson posted to his Twitter account. “Unimaginable never thought it would go down like this. Crazier than my fight riot.”

The future for any potential rematch, or even Khabib’s future in the U.S., is uncertain.

“We have to see what happens. Not just with the Commission. There are going to be fines, Can (Khabib) get a visa and get back into the country. We’ll see how this plays out.”


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