At UFC Fight Night 118, Fili took on McGregor’s longtime friend and training partner Artem Lobov. “Notorious” attended the event to support Lobov. Fili won the bout via unanimous decision.
UFC cameras caught McGregor speaking to Lobov and dropping the homophobic slur. Fili told MMAFighting.com that the use of the word wasn’t necessary:
“There’s no need to use words like that. You don’t need to demean other people to make yourself seem bigger. Whenever you hear someone use that word or call someone a ‘bitch,’ that makes you look so insecure.”
Fili is disappointed because before and after McGregor dropped the slur, he went up to him to offer his respect:
“I told him it was all about the fight, what happened in the fight stayed there, and that I respected him. I thought we were cool. I meant it, too. I know having Conor in the middle of my fight means I get way more attention, I have more Twitter and Instagram followers now and I’ll make more money. I know what he’s done to lift the sport.
“But then, while I’m doing my interview, unbeknownst to me, he’s in the back calling me that word, while I’m in the cage doing my interview. Then when I’m in back getting my medicals done, Conor walks up to me and he shakes my hand and tells me he respects me and that we had a bond because of The Ultimate Fighter (the season in which Fili was an assistant coach for Urijah Faber against McGregor’s team) and I told him I respected him.”