The Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor fight in UFC229 was on Saturday 6th October, just a few days ago, and I have been following the aftermath of videos, interviews and press conferences.
Unfortunately this fight will be not be famous because of the excellent performance of the two athletes, which was great. This will be forever an infamous event because of the unjustifiable brawl which started immediately after Khabib won the fight by submission.
This event by itself should be enough to rename MMA into MMB: from Mixed Martial Arts to Mix Manly Brawls.
I have been supporting the UFC and MMA as a place where fights happen within the cage, in a well-regulated fashion. When boxing press conferences broke into brawls I was pleased to be a martial artist, a distance apart from boxing, and I was hoping that the reputation built in many years meant something to the organisers.
It’s obvious that Dana White’s agenda is mostly regulated by money, pay-per-views, ticket sales and so on, he is running a multi-billion dollar company. It’s also true that trash talk and personal agendas create the hype which sells more tickets. In my opinion, and I know I am not alone on this, Dana should have been stricter when Conor was involved in the mini bus accident back in April this year. White could have suspended McGregor just to make a point and send out a strong message; he didn’t so it’s ok to break rules if you are a champion and a money making machine.
This time Khabib decided to start his own brawl immediately after his victory, risking of losing his belt, his purse and perhaps his career as a professional fighter. I believe that a person who cannot control himself should not be allowed to fight, in UFC or in any other organisation. Khabib’s technique was amazing on Saturday and he truly deserved to win this fight. He said he’d win and he did it. That doesn’t put him about law, regulations or the code of honour to be a martial artist. He should be banned or at least suspended. If he gets away with it I can just see this happening more and more in the future.
UFC is a multi-billion dollar organisation and fights like this are worth many millions. While I hope Khabib will be punished for what he did, the entity or rigour of such a punishment will be negligible compared to the negative message he was allowed to send out.