Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov clinched a dominant win against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 on Saturday evening, local time in Las Vegas. He took down the Irishman in the fourth round with a rear-naked chokehold to retain his lightweight UFC title.
The win was marred by a mass brawl that erupted in and around the octagon: Khabib appeared to hurl his mouth guard toward McGregor's team and leap out of the ring to attempt to fight someone in the crowd, with the Irish and Russian camps starting a fight of their own. A man in a red skirt then can be seen climbing into the cage and throwing a punch at McGregor.
Both fighters were subsequently escorted out of the ring by police and security. UFC President Dana White has refused to hand the lightweight belt to Khabib, who was named the winner by the ring announcer, Bruce Buffer, for fear of the crowd reacting in violent protest. Dana White has confirmed that three members of Khabib Nurmagomedov's team were arrested after the brawl and also hasn't ruled out Khabib being stripped of his title over the incident.
"The Nevada State Athletic Commission is going to go after him pretty hard," White told the media after the event. "The [Nevada] Governor was here tonight and he went running out of the building. He's [Khabib] in big trouble."
Ahead of the fight, Khabib's father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov opened up on his son's fighting strategy for UFC 229. He told a press conference in Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan in Russia's north Caucasus region where Khabib was born, that his son would take to "highest pressing with defense."
The fight made waves on social media; a heated debate broke out over the UFC's credibility.
Conor and the UFC reap what they sow. They engage in and condone this type of behavior then come back and ostracize Khabib for it (not that he doesn't deserve it). Dana White and the UFC are a cesspool of hypocrisy— DAKINGINDANORF (@SirNicholasYuen) 7 октября 2018 г.
How can the UFC rationalize penalizing Khabib in any way, shape, or form when they used footage of Conor launching a dolly through a bus window as fight promo material? Lol— Andrew (@_ModernAncient) 7 октября 2018 г.
The brawl in the arena prompted a handful of jokes and memes.
When you hear someone call you “Kabob” pic.twitter.com/v0Wv6OVS3m— Meninist (@MeninistTweet) 7 октября 2018 г.
Paid for 5 fights but got 6 pic.twitter.com/BhNTapDUKv— Jordan Belfort (@jjrozz12) 7 октября 2018 г.
Khabib is the first Russian to have ever become a UFC champion. He claimed the lightweight title when he defeated Al Iaquinta on April 8. The 30-year-old Russian fighter remains undefeated in 27 mixed martial arts contests; his victory handed McGregor his second defeat in the UFC.
The fighters have been bitter rivals for almost a year, mostly on social media, with McGregor trying to pick on his opponent prior to the fight.
It all went downhill in April, when the Irish fighter hurled a metal dolly through the window of a bus carrying Nurmagomedov and his team, shattering glass and injuring lightweight fighter Michael Chiesa. Later on, he was arrested and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct to avoid a jail term. The attack was preceded by a heated exchange between the Russian UFC fighter and McGregor's friend, Artem Lobov.