Chaos erupted after Khabib Nurmagomedov retained his UFC lightweight title with a submission victory over Ireland’s Conor McGregor on Oct. 6, with members of the Russian fighter’s support team arrested following the outbreak of an all-in brawl after the bout.
Nurmagomedov ended McGregor’s attempt to win back the title when he sealed a brutal submission victory with a neck crank in the fourth round. The Russian fighter then jumped the fence and charged members of McGregor’s support team, sparking a massive brawl.
“This is not something we’re going to like, not something we condone, not something we’re going to promote, this is not professional, but it is the fight game to an extent,” said one of the UFC commentators as havoc rocked the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Fights broke out in and around the cage, with a red-shirted team member of Nurmagomedov leaping the fence and landing several blows on McGregor before security intervened.
“This is absolutely the craziest moment I have seen in all my years calling fights,” declared Joe Rogan, who did color commentary for the UFC 229 fight.
UFC boss Dana White later told Fox Sports that three members of Nurmagomedov’s team were arrested.
“A lot of bad stuff that shouldn’t have happened,” White said of the brawl at a post-fight press conference on, according to Fox Sports. “Khabib jumped over the cage going after one of Conor’s guys, who I guess was talking trash to him, and all hell broke loose.”
The fight had been highlighted by bad blood between the camps, with McGregor pleading guilty in July as part of a deal with prosecutors to resolve charges over an April melee in which he attacked a bus the Russian was traveling on.
The situation boiled over after referee Herb Dean waved off the fight, which prompted Nurmagomedov to jump out of the cage and head straight for McGregor’s teammate and cornerman Dillon Danis, prompting a series of violent scuffles.
One of Nurmagomedov’s teammates was held back by security inside the ring as he shouted at McGregor.
A red-shirted teammate of Nurmagomedov’s then jumped over the fence, swinging several blows at McGregor before being bundled away by security. Punches were also thrown in the crowd as police and security struggled to deal with the angry crowd.
Two of the three arrested individuals are believed to be UFC fighters Islam Makhachev and Zubaira Tukhugov, according to MMA Junkie.
They “will never fight here,” White said, according to the report.
After the initial ringside violence was quelled, White stood in the octagon with Nurmagomedov.
“If I put this belt on you, everybody’s going to start throwing (expletive) into the octagon,” said White, standing next to Nurmagomedov’s cornerman, Luke Rockhold, and two-division champ Daniel Cormier, who had managed to calm down the Russian fighter, MMA junkie reported.
Both fighters were escorted from the arena by police and security.
Cage announcer Bruce Buffer declared the winner of the fight without the winner present, a first in UFC history.
“They both made it very clear the rivalry would not be over after the fight,” White said, according to the report. “But I didn’t see Khabib jumping over the octagon. I didn’t see that coming.”
“God knows what the (Nevada State Athletic Commission) is going to do to Khabib and his guys,” White said. “I think they’re fighters. Will they even get a visa again to get back in this country? There’s a lot of repercussions from what they did tonight, ones I don’t even think they realize yet.”
Superior Grappling Decisive
McGregor, making a comeback to the octagon after nearly two years away, looked dangerous in the early striking exchanges but as expected, Nurmagomedov quickly took the fight to the ground.
The Russian smothered the Irishman with his grappling skills throughout the fight.
In the fourth round, Nurmagomedov applied a devastating neck-crank after securing a dominant position on McGregor’s back, ending the fight at 3:03 by tapout.
Nurmagomedov’s victory stretched his professional record to 27-0 and handed the Irishman his second defeat in the UFC.
Reuters contributed to this report.