Khabib Nurmagomedov reveals his reasonings behind starting dramatic UFC brawl
The highly-anticipated UFC fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor ended with more drama than anticipated, with a mass brawl breaking out after Nurmagomedov won. In the lead up to the UFC 229 match for the lightweight title, tensions between the Russian and the Irish sportsmen were high, though no-one expected things to escalate so drastically.
30-year-old Nurmagomedov has since issued an apology, saying he's "sorry" for the incident, but also took the time to defend his actions and slam McGregor for provoking the attack.
Judging by footage, the brawl broke out almost immediately after McGregor tapped out in the fourth round. McGregor's camp, situated right by the ring, appeared to have caught Nurmagomedov's attention. It seems they said something to prokove him, causing him to launch himself out of the Octagon and attack a member of the McGregor camp.
Scenes of mayhem ensued, with a brawl breaking out between both fighters and their camps in the T Mobile Arena. The disgraceful post-fight behaviour was condemned by UFC President Dana White, who refused to give Nurmagomedov his belt after things calmed down. According to The Independent, White told media that three members of Nurmagomedov’s camp had “been arrested".
“Three of his guys have been arrested, I believe they’re being taken to jail right now," White said. “I don’t know what to say right now, I’m disgusted."
Since the incident, Nurmagomedov expressed his regret for his actions in a brief appearance at the UFC 229 post-fight press conference. He said he was "sorry", but also slammed McGregor for his behaviour in the lead up to the fight, including the controversial bus attack earlier this year.
“First of all I want to say sorry to Nevada Athletic Commission and second to Vegas," Nurmagomedov said. "I know this is not my best side. I’m a human being."
It seems he purposefully excluded McGregor and the people he attacked in the brawl, choosing instead to defend his actions and explain what drove him to do it.
“But I don’t understand how people can talk about how I jump on the cage. He talked about my religion, he talked about my country, he talked about my father," he revealed.
McGregor frequently taunted Nurmagomedov in the months before they came face-to-face in the ring, taunting him and at one point throwing a steel dolly through the window of a bus that the Russian was aboard. During his press conference, Nurmagomedov brought up the incident, in which a few other fighters and UFC staff were injured.
“He came to Brooklyn and he broke a bus, he almost killed a couple of people. What about this sh*t? Why do people talk about me jumping over the cage? I don’t understand."
He went on to say McGregor's goading is a poor reflection of the sport, saying: "This is a respectful sport, not a trash-talking sport.”
White has said that the undefeated Russian lightweight champion could be stripped of his title, depending on the verdict of Nevada authorities who are currently investigating the brawl.