Conor McGregor's coach reveals what really happened in the lead up to the chaotic melee after Khabib fight
UFC 229's main event came to a close as Khabib Nurmagomedov held Conor McGregor in a choke hold in the fourth round, but the drama didn't end there.
Almost immediately after he achieved victory, the Russian fighter climbed out of the octagon and lunged into the crowd after Dillon Danis, McGregor's close friend and training partner. At the same time, we saw three men enter the octagon to assault McGregor, with at least one landing a hit on the Irishman.
In the aftermath, we heard both what Khabib Nurmagomedov had to say about his actions, and one of McGregor's attackers, while the Irishman chose not to file any charges over what happened. Now, McGregor's coach, John Kavanagh, has spoken about the brawl, and what he feels the consequences should be.
Speaking on Joe Rogan's podcast, he was asked about a potential rematch between McGregor and Nurmagomedov, which may be complicated by legal ramifications.
When it comes to what happened, he seems to think that while wrong, Khabib shouldn't be punished too severely:
"I hope they're lenient on him [Khabib] and not just so we can get a rematch, I mean, I love watching them fight firsthand. I can stretch myself to understand his reaction. I can't stretch myself to understand the other guys' reactions and what they did. For Khabib, he jumped out of the cage and he jumped someone, it's not the end of the world."
Rogan then questioned him about who was involved in the octagon fight, but Kavanagh wasn't too sure on the details from his vantage point during the match. What he does explain is that Dillon, the target of Khabib's attack, wasn't provoking him with any words during the match as far as he was aware.
He admitted Khabib was foolish in his actions, but overall he doesn't think it was a huge deal:
"I was standing beside Dillon, I didn't see what he did but I could hear, so he didn't say anything. I've watched back and seen he kind of beckoned him on, just stupid end of fight stuff, but I don't think it justified that level of response.
"Now maybe there was something else in the lead-up. Dillon is a bit of a troll online so there's probably a bit of a build-up of other stuff. Like I said, it wasn't that big of a deal to me - what Khabib did."
Moving on from this specific fight, they talked about the role of trash talking in the sport - which Rogan points out is a technique that McGregor uses to make his opponents lose their composure in the ring. As he says, "this emotion that they're fighting with f*cks up their judgement".
On the other hand, many believe that there should be more respect in the sport, without targeting someone's religion, country and family - as happened with Khabib.
Kavanagh explained that this is something McGregor does with everyone in the sport, even his sparring partners:
"Conor's a divider. Some people love it and some people hate it. I'm not really interested in people's opinions, I'm more interested in what is, and what is is that sells fights. There's a reason he's the highest paid guy. That's natural for him to do too, it's not an act."
"It's just part of the game for him, he enjoys it, it's a bit of fun," he said, before relenting that "this one is darker".
It's unclear what exactly Danis said to Nurmagomedov, but it must have been pretty insulting to warrant such an intense reaction from the fighter.