UFC 229 will forever be remembered for what happened after Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted Conor McGregor to retain his lightweight belt at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Moments after Nurmagomedov tapped McGregor with a neck crank at the 3:03 mark of the fourth round, the champion jumped out of the Octagon to attack one of McGregor’s teammates, which was believed to be Dillon Danis. Meanwhile, some of Nurmagomedov’s training partners appeared to enter the cage to attack McGregor.
“A lot of bad stuff. A lot of stuff that shouldn’t have happened,” UFC President Dana White said on FS1 after the incident. “Khabib jumped over the cage going after one of Conor’s guys who was talking trash to him, and all hell broke loose. I don’t even know what to say right now. I’m just disgusted and sick over it.”
צילום מתוך האולם של הקרב. וגם של הסיום של חביב-מקגרגור pic.twitter.com/7DtRWJK79m— Ram Gilboa (@RamGilboa) October 7, 2018
The melee put a damper on what was billed as the biggest event of the year. According to White, members of Nurmagomedov’s camp involved in the brawl are already suffering the consequences.
“Three of his guys have been arrested and taken to jail,” White said. “The three guys that were involved in the incident, I believe it was those three, are on their way to jail right now.”
White would later reveal at the UFC 229 post-fight press conference that McGregor did not press charges on any of Nurmagomedov's teammates involved in the post-fight incident, so they were released from custody. The UFC boss added that none of those fighters involved would ever compete in the Las Vegas-based promotion again.
There could be even more ramifications down the road. Nurmagomedov will likely face discipline from the Nevada Athletic Commission in the near future. And that doesn’t even include other future legal consequences.
“What happens here is three guys have been arrested. They’re gonna be charges filed against them, I’m sure,” White said. “God knows what the Nevada State Athletic Commission is gonna do to Khabib and his guys. Are these guys ever gonna get a visa again to get back in this country? There’s a lot of things. There’s a lot of repercussions from what they did tonight. Ones that I don’t think they realized yet.”
For now, White said the NAC is withholding Nurmagomedov's $2 million fight purse from the event. McGregor, however, will receive his $3 million payout.
The feud between Nurmagomedov and McGregor intensified ahead of UFC 223 in April, when McGregor and his entourage attacked a bus at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., carrying UFC fighters and employees. Nurmagomedov was on the bus when McGregor threw a dolly through one of the windows. The Irishman was presumably retaliating for an incident that occurred earlier during UFC 223 fight week, when Nurmagomedov and his crew confronted SBG Ireland member Artem Lobov.
“They both made it very clear, the rivalry would not be over after the fight,” White admitted. “But I did not see Khabib jumping over the Octagon. I did not see that coming. We had so much security and Metro (Police) here and everything. I didn’t see that one coming.”
White did his best to diffuse the situation by refuse to place the belt on Nurmagomedov as he left the Octagon.
“I said if we put the belt on him in the Octagon, they’re gonna be throwing whatever they can on him in the Octagon. So I said let’s just try to get him out of here without any incident,” White said.
White also spoke briefly with Conor McGregor after the fight. He said that McGregor was not injured in the post-fight attack.
“I just talked to him. I just met with him and he’s OK,” White said. “He’s upset about the fight — not about the fight after the fight.”