UFC 229 was the subject of a mass brawl after Khabib Nurmagomedov beat Conor McGregor in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. The Russian won in the fourth round through submission before jumping over the cage and diving towards McGregor’s team with his entourage soon following.
Dana White, UFC president, said: “Police officers were getting punched, security guys were getting punched. I actually think police and security did an incredible job. Khabib jumped over the cage like one of those parkour guys. What are you expected to do?”
While the brawl outside the cage took place, two of Khabib’s team climbed in and started attacking McGregor. The first came from the front and shortly after another sucker punched him from behind. British boxer Tony Bellew said that there is “not a chance in the world he deserves to be attacked by two men! One in front and one from behind!
“Both bare knuckle after he’s just been fighting for 20 minutes anyway. It’s a disgrace. The coward jumping the cage is a disgrace. UFC have to deal with this.” According to White, Nurmagomedov’s fight payment has been withheld until further notice while the Nevada State Commission, who originally sanctioned the fight, investigate the events.
Three members of Nurmagomedov’s team were arrested as a result of their post-match actions but were later released. White said that McGregor had refused to press any charges.
Once the brawls were broken up each fighter was individually escorted away surrounded by a mass of security guards and police officers. McGregor went first and looked amazed at what had happened, both during the fight and after. Nurmagomedov left second but not before demanding his belt from White.
“I know if we put the belt on him in the octagon there’ll be things thrown,” White said. “I just said let’s try and get him out of here.” It turned out that the Irish fans would throw things regardless of whether the belt was handed over or not and Nurmagomedov was bombarded with objects as he left the arena.
The victory for the Russian means he is now unbeaten in 27 MMA fights, the longest ongoing undefeated streak in UFC; it is not yet clear, however, for how long he will be suspended. “He is going to get suspended so maybe you give him four to six months,” said White. “If Nevada puts a suspension on him everyone will put a suspension on him. We are not going to go around the athletic commission in this country to put on a fight.
When asked whether he will keep the belt White said “he absolutely keeps his title. They’re talking about keeping his purse. I do not think that should happen. You should not be able to keep his whole purse. I think they should take £250,000 from him.”
Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap, announced that he will punish his son more severely than whatever the UFC gives out: “I warned him. For me, discipline comes first. You do whatever you want in the Octagon, (but) outside, this is the border of civilians, where there are children, women, strangers.”