Khabib Nurmagomedov was unapologetic in laying out his reasons for attacking members of Conor McGregor’s team following his victory over the brash Irishman at UFC 229 on Saturday night, October 6.
As ESPN UK documented via video of his post-fight press conference, Nurmagomedov spared little time before addressing the controversy with a list of justifications for his actions. After issuing a brief apology to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the greater Las Vegas sporting establishment, the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion insisted that it is not reflective of his character to have been the one to initiate the brawl. In the same breath, the undefeated titleholder reasoned that he could not help but defend the honor of his loved ones, God, and nation in hindsight of the numerous insults McGregor had been spewing in lead up to the fight.
“I know this is not my best side. You know? This is not my best side. You know, I’m a human being and, like, I don’t understand how people can talk about I jump on the cage, you know? What about he talked about my religion, he talked about my country, he talked about my father. He come to Brooklyn, and he broke bus and almost killed a couple of people. What about this?” Nurmagomedov asked of reporters filling the press room at T-Mobile Arena.
Nurmagomedov then proceeded to lament over the degree to which he believes the media has promoted an environment conducive to McGregor’s flagrant antics. The 30-year-old Sambo master recalled a time when fighters focused more on the Octagon than they did on the microphone to settle their differences. It is his vow to reverse the tide and bring that old culture of respect back to the sport, Nurmagomedov told the press. “You cannot talk about religion, you cannot talk about nation, you know? Guys, you cannot talk about this stuff. And, you know, for me this is very important,” he said.
While Nurmagomedov might have seen merit in his decision to seek retribution by targeting McGregor’s training partner and Bellator welterweight Dillon Danis, the question that now looms is how UFC will restore confidence that the safety of fans and cornermen will be ensured going forward.
As it stands, Conor McGregor has since taken to Twitter to say that he is looking forward to a rematch. But UFC President Dana White isn’t so sure of how the sport’s regulating bodies will respond to the ugly incident. He has gone so far as to speculate that Nurmagomedov might even be looking at struggling to remain in the country given the crimes that were committed.
“All hell broke loose,” MSN quotes White as telling reporters. “I don’t even know what to say right now. I’m just disgusted and sick over it. God knows what the commission is going to do to Khabib and his guys. Will they even get a visa again to get back in this country? There’s a lot of repercussions from what they did tonight, ones I don’t even think they realize yet.”