Khabib Nurmagomedov had no desire to bury the hatchet with Conor McGregor after some of the egregious things he said in the lead up to their fight at UFC 229.
It was just a couple of weeks ago at the pre-fight press conference with McGregor took aim at Nurmagomedov’s financial ties to a jailed businessman in Russia, brought up his relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin and insulted his father over a photo taken with Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov.
While McGregor was applauded for his meticulous research to go after Nurmagomedov, the undefeated Russian was never laughing and he never took any of it as the typical pre-fight trash talk.
Nurmagomedov then settled things in the cage by thoroughly dominating McGregor over three plus rounds before wrapping up a four round finish by rear naked choke. Afterwards, Nurmagomedov leapt over the cage to go after McGregor’s grappling partner Dillon Danis, who was screaming at him following the end of the fight.
A melee broke out both inside and outside the cage before police and security were able to restore order.
At the post fight press conference, Nurmagomedov justified his actions while also pointing out the hurtful things that McGregor said about him, his family, his country and much more in the lead up to their match at UFC 229.
“I don’t understand how people can talk about I jump on the cage — what about he talked about my religion, he talked about my country, he talked about my father, he come to Brooklyn and he broke bus, he almost killed a couple people, what about this shit? Why people talk about I jump over the cage?” Nurmagomedov said. “Why people still talk about this? I don’t understand.”
UFC president Dana White spoke before Nurmagomedov at the press conference but he had a much different version of the events that unfolded after the fight with McGregor ended.
As upset as Nurmagomedov may have been about McGregor’s comments, White says that the reigning lightweight champion didn’t leap over the cage and nearly incite a riot because of anything that was said to him in the lead up to their fight.
“First of all, it had nothing to do with Conor,” White explained when addressing Nurmagomedov’s actions. “You didn’t see him run and try to attack Conor after the fight. It was a corner man, a guy who had nothing to do with the fight, he wasn’t involved in the fight. He’s a corner man. He was the guy that Khabib went after. He was yelling stuff through the cage at Khabib.”
Regardless of the catalyst that sent Nurmagomedov into the crowd on Saturday night, White was also asked if perhaps McGregor crossed a line with some of his trash talk and if the UFC might consider curbing those kinds of attacks in the future.
“That’s the fight business,” White said. “That’s sports. There’s trash talking in every sport. They do it in the NBA, they do it in the NFL, they do it in baseball. It’s part of the game. That’s never going to change here.
“You’re never going to tell someone what they can or can’t say. That’s never going to change.”
The one line that White will not allow fighters to cross is when they start going after fans but he’s not going to limit what the athletes say to each other.
“We’ve had situations where we’ve had fighters say stuff to the fans. That’s a whole other ballgame, when you start doing that stuff with the fans,” White said. “Fighters, it’s competition. It’s always going to happen.”