Opinion: Nurmagomedov’s moment ends in failure at UFC 229

UFC 229
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 06: Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia is escorted out of the arena after defeating Conor McGregor of Ireland in their UFC lightweight championship bout by way of submission during the UFC 229 event inside T-Mobile Arena on October 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

At UFC 229, Khabib Nurmagomedov successfully defended his lightweight title by submitting Conor McGregor via rear-naked choke in the fourth round. But we were disappointed by the aftermath as the night left us with more questions than answers.

A night which could have ended at Nurmagomedov earning the most quality victory in his career ended in failure. Following his win, he dove over the cage immediately and attacked members of McGregor’s team. While it is fairly easy to overlook Nurmagomedov’s post-fight actions due to McGregor being known for having similar if not worse behavior outside of the cage, Nurmagomedov will have to answer for his actions. He failed to capitalize on the biggest night of his career by giving in to McGregor’s antics. Perhaps he may even be stripped of his 155 lb. title if the Nevada State Athletic Commission decides to give him a lengthy suspension.

Dana White’s Reaction

“Khabib diving over [the cage] was ridiculous,” UFC President Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “You know, you just won a great fight, you fought brilliantly, you’re about to get the belt on and people are going to respect the fact that you fought well and you won the fight. And instead, you dive over the cage and start this huge melee with Conor’s corner.

“I actually didn’t allow [Nurmagomedov] to get the belt put on because I knew what was going to happen when we did it was people were going to throw whatever they had into the Octagon, so let’s just get him out of here. … Sure enough, as soon as they started going through the tunnel, it’s exactly what I knew was gonna happen. I was like, ‘We’ll be lucky enough just to get him out of here without the belt.'”

At the end of the day, Nurmagomedov will have to face the consequences of his post-fight brawl with McGregor’s team, and could face not only a fine but a suspension as well. Nurmagomedov could have showed the world he is in fact the better man of the two, but he failed to capitalize. The entire world was watching and his impressive win over McGregor at UFC 229 will now be overlooked. The former lightweight champion McGregor may have lost the battle, but he certainly won the war.

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