Khabib Nurmagomedov is in huge trouble, and it has nothing to do with what the UFC lightweight champion did inside the Octagon on Saturday night. He could end up losing his title over his post-fight antics, in which he climbed out of the Octagon and leaped into the crowd to attack Conor McGregor’s jiu-jitsu coach, Dillon Danis.
The incident with Khabib and his camp marred what was a dominating performance by the still-undefeated champion at UFC 229. He forced McGregor to submit with a neck crank in the fourth round, after controlling the ground game for the majority of the previous three rounds. He particularly pummeled McGregor when he had him pinned late in the second.
However, nobody is talking or thinking about Khabib’s convincing win over a worthy challenger. The discussion understandably surrounds his behavior after the fight – in addition to the actions of three members of his camp, which UFC president Dana White told reporters were arrested and then released after McGregor declined to press charges. Shortly after Khabib incited his brawl, two men presumably involved with Khabib entered the Octagon and attacked McGregor, sparking a second melee.
Via ESPN, White now says that Khabib could be stripped of his title, depending on the punishment he gets from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“It’s bad,” White said. “There’s gonna be an investigation … there’s gonna be big-money fines, and these guys are in big trouble.”
Khabib, a devout Muslim who hails from the republic of Dagestan in Russia, took offense to comments made by McGregor and others leading up to the fight regarding his family, religion, and ethnicity. That apparently caused his emotions to boil over after the fight. He cited his issues with McGregor’s rhetoric, as well as a prior incident in which McGregor attacked a bus belonging to his team in New York, when he offered a half-hearted apology for his actions in a post-fight press conference.
“First of all, I want to say sorry to the athletic commission, Nevada and sorry to Vegas. This is not my best side. I’m a human being, but I don’t understand how people can talk about jumping on the cage when he talks about my religion, he talks about my country, he talks about my father and he comes to Brooklyn and he broke the bus and almost killed a couple of people. What about this? Why are people talking about my jumping over the cage? I don’t understand. … You cannot talk about religion, you cannot talk about nations, you cannot talk about this stuff. This is for me very important.”
There’s no excuse for what Khabib did and he should expect to be hit hard for it. The commission is already withholding his check as it investigates the incident. It’s up in the air whether he’ll even be able to fight in Nevada again. So losing his title should be considered as one of the most likely punishments, and one of the smaller ones he will face.
If and when he’s allowed to fight again, Khabib’s rematch with McGregor will be that much more anticipated after what transpired on Saturday.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.