It remains to be seen what’s going to happen to Khabib Nurmagomedov, as a result of last night’s, ugly, post-fight brawl. But, it doesn’t sound like the lightweight champ’s going to be apologizing to Conor McGregor or his team.
As you’ve almost certainly heard by now, after Khabib tapped McGregor out with a fourth round neck crank at UFC 229, things went south, real quick. Nurmagomedov jumped the Octagon and appeared to go after McGregor’s teammate, Dillon Danis. A melee ensued, and then, McGregor was attacked in the Octagon as well, by what is believed to have been Nurmagomedov’s teammates.
Nurmagomedov did attend the post-fight presser, but the lightweight champ didn’t field any questions. Instead, he made these comments while discussing the incident, and the submission win he scored (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I want to say sorry to the athletic commission,” Nurmagomedov said. “Sorry to Vegas. I know this is not my best side. This is not my best side. I am a human being.”
“I do not understand how people can talk about ‘I jumped from the cage. Worry about, he talked about my religion, he talk about my country, he talk about my father, he come to Brooklyn and he broke bus, he almost killed a couple people. Worry about this. Worry about this sh*t. Why people talk about ‘I jump over the cage?’ Why people still talk about this? I don’t understand.”
“…My father teach me, you have to be always respectful,” Nurmagomedov added. “My old team where I am staying in California for seven years, everybody know who I am. All my friends, everybody who know me, they know who I am, you know? I told you guys, not only him, his whole team, they’re tap machine. I told you guys. When you put him the wrong way he’s going to tap. What happened today? they call him two-time world champ in two weight classes. But today, he tap, and that’s why the belt is here, undisputed, undefeated UFC lightweight champion.”
If you followed the lead up to UFC 229, then Khabib’s comments here probably won’t come as a huge surprise. That doesn’t excuse what happened last night; the incident marred what was a fantastic and historic event. Today, the brawl, rather than Khabib’s performance, or any of the other memorable fights, is what’s making headlines with the mainstream media. It was terrible for the sport.
But some of the political and historical issues McGregor raised leading up to the fight, prompted observers with knowledge of those issues to sound alarm bells right away. If you’ve been following the post-brawl responses, many of those same people have noted this, in addition to citing the media day incident for UFC 223 (which was prompted by a run-in between Khabib and McGregor’s friend, Artem Lobov).
So, now the MMA world will wait to see what moves the NSAC takes against Nurmagomedov, and if the UFC imposes any disciplinary actions. It might be a while before we see Khabib fight again.