It was one of the biggest fights in MMA history, then it became one of the most infamous moments in sports history.
Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted Conor McGregor with a rear naked choke hold in the fourth round of the pair’s highly anticipated showdown at UFC 229, adding another victory to the Russian’s 27-0 record as a fighter. It should have been the highest moment of Nurmagomedov’s career, but what followed next was pure madness.
Once the fight ended, emotion seemed to take over for Nurmagomedov and prompted him to leap over the fence and start a fight with Dillon Danis, a member of McGregor’s team. McGregor, standing in the octagon, was also attacked while the brawl ensued, with security and police trying to take control of the situation.
Both fighters were escorted away under heavy guard, with Nurmagomedov never receiving his UFC belt.
It was a surreal scene, and was quickly the talk of the MMA, and sports, world.
Twitter reacts to Khabib-McGregor brawl
Several members of the MMA media lamented what should have been a great night for their sport turning into an embarrassment.
That was 100% worse than Nashville. Disgusting. Not sure who lit up Conor from up here but that was criminal. Horrible, horrible ending.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 7, 2018
— Peter Carroll (@PetesyCarroll) October 7, 2018
What an awful ending to what should have been a great night. Khabib Nurmagomedov silenced the doubters, moved to 27-0 and tapped out Conor McGregor.
Now all we're going to remember is the chaos and really stupid decisions made after it was over. Terrible. #UFC229
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) October 7, 2018
Joe Rogan: "I don't think that was calculated. I think that was in the moment, he (Khabib) was full of passion. Conor is going to come out the victim here and Khabib is going to have a very difficult time getting a visa or a green card. This is incredibly disappointing." #UFC229
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) October 7, 2018
Ali yelling at Ernie Terrell after beating him up, or Conor attacking Khabib’s bus before the fight, not the same as what Khabib just did; rendered Conor helpless, slow to get off him, had to be restrained from going back at him, then assaulted his trainer.
— Max Kellerman (@maxkellerman) October 7, 2018
Several fighters also weighed in, with some very mixed reactions.
Hey guys, two wrongs don’t make it right. Conor didn’t deserve that. No one did. But some things aren’t for fight promotion. Religion, family, country. Throwing stuff in Brooklyn. For Khabib it wasn’t fight promotion, it was really personal. Diff culture man. Sucks
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 7, 2018
Sad. Straight up sad. I’m speechless. The biggest night in UFC history is damaged. I feel bad for Conor, Dana, UFC, and most of all for Khabib. He’s worked his entire life for this moment. One millisecond of emotion ruined it all. #UFC229
— Brendan Schaub (@BrendanSchaub) October 7, 2018
Unacceptable! You can’t jump the fence and punch the fighter. Awesome fights but on the end 👎🏽
— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) October 7, 2018
— chad mendes (@chadmendes) October 7, 2018
Incredible performance by both fighters @thenotoriousmma and @TeamKhabib But to end it like they did was a huge embarrassment to the sport. We (fighters)are sportsmen and champions and we… https://t.co/kQEqBLjiWn
— Chuck Liddell (@ChuckLiddell) October 7, 2018
And, naturally, rapper Pusha T also made sure to get his two cents in. He was a little more understanding of Nurmagomedov’s thought process.
Great win @TeamKhabib sometimes u have to burn the whole house down…i understand.
— King Push (@PUSHA_T) October 7, 2018
Then came “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
I love Professional Wrestling.
— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) October 7, 2018
There was also a heavy contingent of people who believed there was hypocrisy in criticizing Nurmagomedov even though McGregor had literally ruined UFC events by attacking a bus full of fighters in April.
Conor threw a dolly through a bus window, got arrested, and the UFC used it in their promos on a fight he got anyway that made him a bajillion dollars.
So miss me with the ‘Khabib needs to be punished’ takes.
— Adam Stites (@AdamStites_) October 7, 2018
I don’t want to hear these announcers talking about how this isn’t what they wanted to see. They all created this monster. This is what they sell as a product and then they don’t like when it gets out of hand.
— Chris Wade (@CWadeMMA) October 7, 2018
Conor does whatever the fuck he wants and nobody says shit he’s welcomed back with open arms , khabib hops the cage after all these people said about him and everyone’s like omg what a bad person how could he do that haha
— Brian Kelleher (@brianboom135) October 7, 2018
Very unfortunate aftermath of the #mcgregorvskhabib fight. While there is no condoning Khabib 's behavior or that of his teammate, make no mistake, The fuse for this was lit by McGregor attacking the bus. This is very unfortunate on many levels.
— Al Bernstein (@AlBernstein) October 7, 2018
There was the cynical view that the fight would only end up increasing UFC’s business.
The Khabib-Conor rivalry is far from over. A rematch at this point would do insane numbers. The question is, is it even safe to run again? Is it worth the risks that it will bring? This has turned ugly, can't have this escalate, not good for the sport. #UFC229
— Danny Segura (@dannyseguratv) October 7, 2018
I mean, this is going to be so, so good for UFC business.
— Dann Stupp (@DannStupp) October 7, 2018
If you think this is going to ruin the UFC, you must not have been around for Mike Tyson's reign as PPV king
— Dave Doyle (@davedoylemma) October 7, 2018
Speaking of Mike Tyson …. he also had something to say.
— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) October 7, 2018
Considering McGregor still has both of his ears, we’re going to go ahead and still score this one for Tyson.
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