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Filed under Opinion, Showcase, Sports

McGregor vs Nurmagomedov jeopardized the UFC

McGregor and Nurmagomedov fight for the lightweight championship at UFC 229.

PHOTO COURTESY / GETTY IMAGES

McGregor and Nurmagomedov fight for the lightweight championship at UFC 229.

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The fight between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) 229 was a fight for the ages. Despite the impressive résumés of the fighters, it was the dispute that broke out following the fight that drew the attention of the world.

The feud between the two fighters dates back to the beginning of April when Nurmagomedov and his crew confronted McGregor’s teammate and best friend Artem Lobov at UFC 223’s media day. No one is certain about what occurred during this conversation, but video footage indicates a scuffle at the very least. McGregor allegedly took this situation into his own hands and stormed into Nurmagomedov’s bus, throwing a metal equipment dolly and other objects into the bus, shattering the windows and injuring other UFC 223 fighters.

The fight ended three minutes and three seconds into the fourth round when Nurmagomedov used his advanced grappling techniques to get McGregor into a neck crank (also known as a neck hold), winning the fight by submission. The crowd could instantly see the tension and rage between these fighters when Nurmagomedov would not release his tight choke hold after the tap from McGregor, signaling his forfeit of the contest. Referee Herb Dean stepped in to separate the two, throwing Nurmagomedov off McGregor and ending the fight, before giving the title to Khabib Nurmagomedov, the reigning lightweight champion.

After Nurmagomedov stood up and celebrated his fight, he launched his mouthpiece at McGregor’s coaching staff corner, where trainer John Kavanagh, sparring partner Dillon Danis, and other members of the team were occupying. Nurmagomedov hopped out of the cage and leapt directly towards Danis and Kavanagh. Soon several fights involving Kavanagh, Danis, Nurmagomedov and his cousin Abubakar, two of Nurmagomedov’s cornermen, and McGregor occurred. A swarm of security guards and teammates from both sides all separated the Russian fighter from the brawl and held him back. Back in the octagon, Nurmagomedov’s trainers were mocking McGregor, which caused more fighting. A teammate of Nurmagomedov jumped into the cage and struck McGregor in the face from behind instigating uproar in the crowd. After the flurry of fights, the two fighters and their entourages were escorted out of the concourse.

Nurmagomedov’s behavior was shameful given he had just won the competition, and given that McGregor had done nothing to provoke a fight.

The cameras showed UFC president Dana White telling Khabib Nurmagomedov that he would not be rewarded with the belt in public due to fear of rioting and further harm to the reputation of UFC. Checks have been withheld from Nurmagomedov and his team, but McGregor has been paid in full. Both McGregor and and Nurmagomedov will be suspended temporarily until October 24th, when a hearing will determine whether a permanent suspension for both fighters will be needed.

This fight is not good for the UFC. The popularity of the sport has grown in the recent years with the help of superstars like Ronda Rousey, Nate Diaz, Daniel Cormier, and many others, but this fight has made the UFC seem lousy due to the lack of self-control of the fighters. Future competitors should take heed to control their emotions, not only to protect themselves and their teammates, but the legitimacy of the UFC as a whole.

***UPDATE: 10/27***

The drama sparked at UFC continues to unfold as just this past week, the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) decided to give a portion of the prize money to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, which had been withheld from the fighter. Aside from the money, suspensions for both Nurmagomedov and McGregor have been extended until further notice, or until the investigation is complete. The two fighters will be forced to attend a disciplinary court hearing on December 10th in Las Vegas to discuss further consequences; a chairman for the NAC has publicly announced that fines and a lifetime ban are still possible.

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McGregor vs Nurmagomedov jeopardized the UFC