Could the UFC have prevented huge brawl after McGregor’s defeat by addressing his racism?
This past Saturday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hosted one of the most anticipated main fights, UFC 229, in the company’s history. It was a fight between Muslim Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov, the world’s lightweight champion, and Conor McGregor, the Irish international superstar coming to challenge him for the title.
While the fight ended with Khabib’s dominating win, the post-fight brawl erupted an online conversation of the UFC’s double standards, racism, and Islamophobia.
The fight was scheduled for five rounds, but Khabib finished with an astonishing record 27 wins to 0 losses as McGregor submitted on the fourth round. Afterward, Khabib quickly jumped out of the octagon arena to attack McGregor’s teammate Dillon Danis. According to TMZ Sports, a ringside witness says Danis shouted “f**king Muslim rat” and that he was hurling derogatory and racist insults towards Khabib the entire time. Danis denies the claims.
The post-fight brawl is an example of the racist double standards of the UFC. Earlier this year, McGregor and about 40 men attacked Khabib’s bus in New York. McGregor shattered one of the bus’ glass window which injured a couple of Khabib’s teammates. While McGregor was given a very light sentence of 5 days of community service, the UFC did not penalize him. Instead, the UFC proceeded to use video of the bus incident in their promotional media for the fight. UFC President Dana White said that the use of the bus video was “fair game.”
Throughout the fight’s press conference, McGregor hurled anti-Muslim insults towards Khabib. In particular, he called the Dagestani Muslim fighter a “backwards c**t” for rejecting whiskey and insulted his father’s heritage, calling Khabib’s people “cowards.”
This is not the first time the UFC has turned a blind eye to McGregor’s racist theatrics. During his press conference with Floyd Mayweather, McGregor asked him to “dance for me, boy” and called his security “juiced up monkeys.”
While many sports outlets have been critical of Khabib for his post-match reaction, writers like Assed Baig for the Independent point out that it was the fault of the UFC for promoting McGregor’s racist behavior.
As of now, the UFC and the Nevada Athletic Commission will investigate the incident and file complaints against both players. Currently, Khabib Nurmagomedov is threatening to leave the UFC if his teammate Zubaira Tukhugov is suspended for jumping into the Octagon and punching McGregor.
Khabib shared on Instagram, “Why didn’t you fire anyone when their team attacked the bus and injured a couple of people? They could have killed someone there, why no one says anything about insulting my homeland, religion, nation, family?”
He continues, “Why do you have to punish my team, when both teams fought. If you say that I started it, then I do not agree, I finished what he had started.”