The main event of UFC 229, the mixed martial arts championship event on Saturday evening at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, quickly devolved into chaos.
After a fourth round that saw UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov rain down blows on his loudmouthed opponent Conor McGregor, the Dagestani fighter got the Irishman into a brutal headlock, ultimately getting him to submit. Then, Khabib mouthed some words to McGregor, marched over to the edge of the Octagon fence, threw his mouthpiece out, and began shouting at McGregor’s team in the crowd.
Before you could say uh oh, Khabib had scaled the fence and attacked McGregor’s jiu-jitsu coach Dillon Danis, and a full-on melee ensued. Members of Khabib’s team then entered the Octagon over the fence and sucker-punched McGregor. Both fighters had to be escorted out of the arena separately, and there was no belt presentation. According to UFC President Dana White, three members of Khabib’s team have been arrested over the incident. This is a developing situation, and criminal charges may be filed.
The Khabib-McGregor bout was already the subject of great controversy prior to Saturday. Following a UFC 223 promotional event in April, one in which Khabib and McGregor pal Artem Lobov got into a minor scuffle, McGregor took it upon himself to throw a metal equipment dolly at a bus containing Khabib and several other UFC fighters, two of whom were injured by broken glass. McGregor was charged with three counts of assault, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and menacing, but only ended up pleading guilty to disorderly conduct, carrying a light penalty of five days of community service and anger management classes.
In the lead-up to UFC 229, McGregor lobbed numerous insults at Khabib, calling him a “smelly Dagestani rat” and even accusing his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, of being a “fucking snitch, terrorist rat” who was embroiled in the 9/11 terror attacks. McGregor has a long history of making racist and homophobic remarks.
Both Khabib and McGregor’s camps did not respond to requests for comment.