Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor: A Lesson in Trash Talk

UFC 229 ends in chaotic slugout outside the octagon.

Jonas Anziano, Editor

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Connor McGregor is a man of many words, and very few of them kind. His habit of shade-throwing has garnered the amusement of many and the ire of even more. Say what you please about the Irish MMA fighter, but there’s no debate that when it comes to getting people talking, the man’s something of a master. You may remember his dangerous antics back in April, when a video surfaced of him throwing a dolly at a bus of fellow UFC fighters in Brooklyn. One of those fighters would face him in the octagon months later in one of the biggest UFC matches in the sport’s history; None other than Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Riling up your competition with some fierce words is practically a core tenet of UFC. McGregor, however, goes above and beyond his peers when it comes to pre-fight squabbling. A press conference was meant to take place with the two fighters speaking together on the fight. McGregor, however, arrived late and left Nurmagomedov to speak his piece on his opponent alone. Needless to say, when McGregor found out that Nurmagomedov had departed before facing him, was less than thrilled.  This opened up the floor for McGregor to let loose his own barrage of insults aimed at Nurmagomedov, his family, team, and country.

McGregor’s slander-session was already expected to be harsh, but even so, it doesn’t take much to argue that he took it far beyond the threshold of reasonability. Among other things, McGregor made a point of calling Khabib’s manager a “terrorist rat”, citing an incident where he was pulled off a plane in Cairo shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Among other comments made were repeated promises for a quick dispatching of Khabib in the octagon. He’d also boasted how he had been grappling trainers much heavier than himself and Khabib at his training camp, something which is already a strong point of McGregor’s fighting style. We all know what took place on fight night; McGregor was met with a rude awakening after being whittled down to exhaustion and finished off with a brutal rear naked chokehold which forced him into tapping out.

The fight was certainly entertaining, but the real show began immediately after the fight. After McGregor tapped and coaches, referees and doctors rushed into the octagon, Khabib began yelling and pointing at someone off camera in the audience. One of the televised announcers, just as perplexed by the new title-holder’s sudden, erratic behavior as the rest of the audience, begins yelling “No! No!” as Khabib vaults the Octagon fence and begins attacking McGregor’s jiu jitsu training partner, Dillon Danis. Allegedly, he had taken part in berating Khabib and his team on Twitter in the nights prior to the big fight. Security quickly break up the scuffle, only for two more men to jump into the octagon to begin attacking a tired and weakened McGregor. Connor threw a few half-hearted punches in his defense, but the camera captured him taking a few heavy swings to the face before the two team members were taken out.

The post-fight rumble received wild reception, both from people aiming to crack jokes at the incident, as well as more searing critiques. Dana White, UFC President, stated “All hell broke loose.” Allegedly, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally called Khabib to congratulate him on his victory. Khabib later apologized, stating on social media “This is not my best side. I am a human being”, later justifying his actions after repeated insults on himself, his family, team, and country. McGregor, on the other hand, posted a selfie oh him and his new black eye on Instagram, joking “Good knock. Looking forward to the rematch.” Mr. White did not entertain this hypothetical rematch. Soon after, Khabib’s father posted on his own Instagram, forgiving McGregor for his comments, and congratulating his son on his victory.

As the situation currently stands, Khabib has retained his new title, but has had his pay for the match revoked. Connor, already receiving his punishment in the octagon, has kept his purse at the cost of his title.