‘McGregor talked about my religion, my father… what about that s***?’ – Khabib on UFC 229 brawl
Khabib Nurmagomedov has apologized for his role in the mass brawl that marred his win over Conor McGregor at UFC 229, but claimed the provocations he faced from the Irishman were much worse than his conduct.
Nurmagomedov retained his lightweight title with a dominant fourth-round submission win over McGregor at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
But chaos ensued after the victory as the Russian scaled the fence to attack a member of McGregor’s team, while two Nurmagomedov team members reportedly lashed out at the Irishman in the cage.
Nurmagomedov was eventually escorted from the scene by security officials, with UFC boss Dana White refusing to present him with his belt, citing the toxic atmosphere.
When the Russian appeared at the post-fight press conference he had been reunited with his strap, and issued an immediate apology over the incident.
“Sorry to the Nevada athletic commission, sorry to Las Vegas,” the Dagestani fighter said. "I know this is not my best side."
When asked what had sparked the scenes, Nurmagomedov cited tensions with McGregor in the run-up to the bout, as well as the infamous bus attack in April.
“People are talking about I jumped over the cage,” the Russian said.
“I’m a human, what about he talked about my religion, my country, my father, he come to Brooklyn and broke bus, almost killed a couple of people, what about this s***,” Nurmagomedov said defiantly.
The run-up to the fight had seen the bad blood boil between the pair, with McGregor frequently taunting the Russian fighter in typcially belligerent fashion, even aiming a kick at him in the final face-off on Friday.
At the post-fight press conference, Nurmagomedov mocked McGregor and his team as “tap machines,” before saying the media had stirred up tensions in a sport that should be based on “respect.”
“This is respect sport, not trash talking sport,” the Russian fighter added, saying that his father and coach, Abdulmanap, would “smash him” over his apparent lapse of judgement in launching the furious assault after the bout.
He closed the conference by revealing that Russian leader Vladimir Putin had phoned him to congratulate him on his victory.
UFC chief Dana White had earlier said that the undefeated Russian could be stripped of his title, depending on actions taken by the Nevada authorities.
He also confirmed that three of Nurmagomedov’s team had been arrested over the incident – for which Nurmagomedov has reportedly had his purse withheld – but that McGregor did not want to press charges, meaning the trio had been released.