The aftermath of UFC 229 turned the event from an utter success into one of the ugliest nights in UFC history. Just seconds after choking out Conor McGregor and defending the UFC lightweight championship, Khabib Nurmagomedov inexplicably jumped over the fence and attacked McGregror’s cornermen, leading to a massive skirmish that saw both camps throw hands and put a black mark on a sport that has taken so long to become accepted by the mainstream. It was one of the darkest moments in UFC history, comparable to the Strikeforce Nashville incident back in 2010, and it overshadowed what was one of the biggest events in MMA history. It was just shocking.
The saddest part of everything is that this ugly incident makes everyone forget about what a great fight Nurmagomedov and McGregor put on as the Russian picked up the most impressive win of his career to date. And the worst part is that Nurmagomedov has no one to blame but himself. He went out there and beat McGregor in the standup and on the ground and everyone should be talking about how amazing of a fighter he is today, but instead everyone is talking about him flying over the cage and attacking McGregor’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach Dillon Danis. No one told Nurmagomedov to do that, but he did it anyways. It was stupid, immature, and made the sport look bad. Instead of talking about how Nurmagomedov is the most dominant lightweight the sport has ever seen, instead everyone is talking about what kind of legal repercussions this incident will have and whether or not Nurmagomedov will be stripped of his belt. It was just plain ugly.
It’s just really sad this happened. What Nurmagomedov did to McGregor was something no one else ever did. Yes, Nate Diaz beat McGregor, but that was up a weight class on short notice. What Nurmagomedov did to McGregor was just brutal. The fight wasn’t even close. Nurmagomedov’s takedowns were as dominant as ever and his striking looked incredible as well as he was one of the few men to actually hurt McGregor with a punch. We’ve been waiting for years for Nurmagomedov to cement his place as the top lightweight in the world and he did just that by beating McGregor to a pulp and making him tap in the fourth round. But no one is talking about that today. They are just talking about how big of an idiot Nurmagomedov is. And he has no one but himself to blame for that.
UFC 229 was supposed to be the biggest night in company history, and in some ways it was. By all accounts, the event likely broke the pay-per-view record and this post-fight incident might actually be better for business. But for a sport that has taken so long just to be accepted, and for a sport that is going to be on ESPN in 2019, this was terrible to see happen. The sport will go on and in time we will all likely forget about this ugly incident, but at this point that’s all anyone is talking about. There were so many amazing fights and incredible performances at UFC 229 and Nurmagomedov is a big part of why, but he’s also a big reason why it turned out to be so embarrassing. What he did at UFC 229 was wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and what McGregor did at UFC 223 with the bus incident didn’t help, but Nurmagomedov has to be more professional. He let him emotions get the most of him and he put a black mark on what was an amazing night of fights. And he has no one to blame but himself.