Sometimes fans aren't just spectators, but active participants in the events around them, even going to great lengths to defend their heroes on occasion. David Martin, a Conor McGregor fan and fellow Irishman is just one example. He described to the website For The Win how he protected his favorite fighter when the post-bout mayhem between McGregor's and Khabib Nurmagomedov's teams erupted.
The footage of the match that emerged later showed the start of the melee and how Martin (wearing a white jacket) rushed into the Octagon from his seat, when he saw that one of Khabib's teammates was going for McGregor.
"I thought Russia was attacking Ireland. [McGregor] was tired and beaten down from the fight and was being attacked by what I thought were a bunch of Russian fans. I needed to step in. I was thinking my country was calling for me right now and I'm going in," he said.
When he reached the Octagon it was already flooded by fighters from both teams, UFC personnel and security. Martin says that he tried to calm McGregor down, saying that he, like the fighter, was from Dublin too.
"By the time I got up the steps, I didn't even know to go straight or right. I just wanted to make sure Conor was protected because he had nobody. […] I was talking to him. I put an arm on Conor and one on the cage and told him to calm down and breathe," the fan said.
The highly-anticipated bout between Irish fighter Conor McGregor and his Russian opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov was dampened by the post-fight melee that erupted after Khabib attacked one of McGregor's teammates, Dillon Danis. Members of both fighters' teams got involved in the fight, which was later stopped by security. Nurmagomedov subsequently apologized for his actions, noting that they were caused by Danis insulting his religion, country and family throughout the bout.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has suspended both fighters over the melee and is considering punishing them. In addition, Khabib's paycheck has been suspended by the NSAC until the end of the investigation. UFC head Dana White believes the NSAC may suspend Khabib for 4-6 months and fine him $250,000. White additionally said that Nurmagomedov will retain his championship title, despite the post-bout fight.
The post-bout melee was preceded by a half-year rivalry between McGregor and Khabib, which started after the Irish fighter attacked a bus in which his Russian opponent was traveling along with other UFC fighters. Some of the passengers were injured as a result and McGregor was sentenced to five days of community service, as well as a course in anger management. That didn't stop McGregor from picking on Khabib later, calling his father "a coward," and taunting the Russian fighter, who practices Islam, by offering him a glass of whiskey.