UFC 229 was an event marred in controversy. Sport and controversy can’t be separated, yet at UFC 229 the sport did not harbor the controversy. Saturday’s card brought the long overdue return of mixed martial arts love child, Conor McGregor. Although the beloved the Irishmen made his return upon a large set of eyes, his performance did not live up to his promise. In the main event, lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor in the 4th round via neck crank. Nurmagomedov dominated the action apart from the 3rd round in which the champion seemed to pace his output.
The Eagle Incident
The controversy did not come within the fights regulation time. It occurred moments after the Irish superstar lightly bounced his fingers off the forearm of Nurmagomedov, indicating his submission. As fighters routinely do, Nurmagomedov held the submission tight but this was different. Referee Herb Dean forcibly yanked the champions forearm off of the opponent. The referee then put himself between the two competitors, Nurmagomedov screamed with full fury as Dean pushed him away from the sunken McGregor.
A rampage ensued. Khabib Nurmagomedov moved his rage-fueled screaming towards the corner of McGregor. Dillon Danis, a cornerman of McGregor, was not shy about chirping back at the champion. The mouth guard of the reigning champion came flying at the fence and before security could corral him, the Russian vaulted the octagon leaped into the air towards Dillon Danis attacking him in true Eagle form by launching his feet towards the face of the Jiu-Jitsu stand-out.
A brawl ensued. One that luckily only enticed a few members of opposing fight teams to assault each other.
Hey guys, two wrongs don’t make it right. Conor didn’t deserve that. No one did. But some things aren’t for fight promotion. Religion, family, country. Throwing stuff in Brooklyn. For Khabib it wasn’t fight promotion, it was really personal. Diff culture man. Sucks
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 7, 2018
For much of the fight promotion, McGregor was the wild, loud, and boisterous one. Nurmagomedov remained calm in the public eye. He went far and wide in his trash talk. Speaking on topics that cross the proverbial ‘line’ for most people. McGregor insulted the family lineage, country, culture, and religion of his opponent.
While one may understand these actions, they cannot be condoned, words can never be stronger than limbs. Mixed martial arts fans, in particular, should know this. Words come and go, scar tissue stays.
Even beyond that, MMA is a sport. Every sport and competition needs balance and structure. There is a clear and definitive moment that competition fleets away in the air and opponents become professionals. Respect between opponents isn’t necessary, but respect for the sport is.
In this instance, that proverb could extend to either party. So which side is it, will Khabib Nurmagomedov have his title stripped or is there as much to blame on Conor McGregor?
MMASucka polled nearly 100 people on this very topic. The results came in fairly close, the majority believe ‘The Eagle’ will not have his title stripped, around 63%. On the other end, those who thought otherwise tallied in at 37%.
— MMASucka (@MMASucka) October 7, 2018
Now the question is posed to you.
Will Khabib Nurmagomedov remain the champion?
Will the UFC vanquish Khabib Nurmagomedov’s title from history? Or will this notch in time disappear like the Strikeforce Nashville brawl featuring Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller and Jake Shields?.
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