UFC 229: A Step in the Wrong Direction

As an above casual fan of MMA in general, this was a rollercoaster of an event the likes I have Never seen before. If you live under a rock or at least don’t give a crap about UFC/MMA in general, Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his UFC lightweight title against arguably the biggest name in MMA, Conor McGregor. As a McGregor stan, I fully admit that the better man won. Khabib out-preformed the poster boy for the UFC and got the submission victory in the 4th round. However, once the match ended, pandemonium ensued.

The clip above shows what happened after the bell. Khabib jumped the cage and went after McGregor’s coach, Bellator competitor Dillon Danis, while members of Khabib’s staff hopped the cage and blatantly attacked Conor from behind after just going through a battle. The build up to this fight though kind of led to this moment. Khabib has had numerous run ins and beef with Danis, which led to Conor throwing the dolly at the bus where Khabib’s team was resigning in NYC. That led to a hearing for McGregor, immediate heat with Khabib, and one of the most vicious and tense press conferences in the build of the main event of the card this past weekend. Both fighters were taking jabs at each other personally and at their respected families, further fueling the rivalry. That stuff is seen more in the WWE than in the UFC scene. UFC President Dana White held a presser after the event and has said there will be repercussions for the event, as well as the men who attacked Conor will never be allowed to compete in the promotion. The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NASC) will be reviewing the aftermath and hand punishment to Khabib and his camp. From what the experts are saying is if NSAC suspends Khabib for a long duration from competition, White will strip him of the lightweight title.

Now that I have had some time to process and review the entire situation, I do think a suspension is most likely looming for Nurmagomedov. Does he deserve a suspension? Yes; you can’t have your camp assault a defenseless man as they did, as well as jump the cage to attack an opposing camp member. Whatever personal rivalry you have with another person, you don’t jump them after you won in what is probably the biggest match of your career. A true winner would have threw his arms up and got the belt put around his waist, then walk off as a gracious champion should. Don’t let the outside noise take away from your monstrous moment. Now, was this assault earned and vindicated? It’s really hard to say. Conor McGregor is one of the best mouthpieces in the history of UFC. He’s gonna go hard and get under his opponent’s skin. It is a very good strategy that seems to work against his past opponents (Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, Eddie Alvarez, etc). I do think the dolly incident and calling out Khabib’s family, religious ties, and mocking the Russian culture is going farther than he ever has before, and frankly reckless as well. I do think there was gonna be something coming McGregor’s way, but to this degree was not what anyone, including myself, expected to happen. Personally, I would suspend Khabib, but not strip the title from him.

Khabib just became the biggest heel in the UFC and made one of the most polarizing fighters in UFC history a heralded babyface (good guy for the non-WWE fans). His next fight when it’s announced will be white hot. He will be booed until the cows come home. At the same time, that only prints money for the UFC. Nothing sells better than evil and hate, and Khabib and Dana White just got the blank check. This is only gonna grow if he doesn’t get suspended or stripped of the title. Business is business, but it is gonna be up to the UFC/NSAC who have to look at the situation from all angles and perspectives.

UFC is gonna be in a difficult spot for now, but in reality this will only help the company in the long run if and when a rematch is booked. I would imagine Conor comes back for another fight. If I was his manager, I would try to book Conor against the winner of Dustin Poirier/Nate Diaz at UFC 230 (which looks to be a solid fight at 165 lb.). Not only could that be the finale of Diaz?McGregor, but Poirier is a solid fighter from what Ive seen and would be a good matchup in the buildup to Khabib/Conor 2. If that happens and we get the rematch from this past weekend, it’s gonna set the world on fire and be one of the most bought PPV for UFC. Khabib will face NSAC and more than likely be suspended, which will lead to being stripped of the lightweight title. If he gets cleared, Tony Ferguson is next up to face him. Tony had a FANTASTIC win against Anthony Pettis and earned a title shot. Hopefully we see this matchup after having it cancelled multiple times already. I can already see the war between the two in the octagon. I’ve also heard Geroges St. Pierre rumored to face one of either Khabib or Conor, which would be a hell of a fight if GSP is fully ready. All kinds of possibilities for the future, and it’s gonna be interesting to see what the repercussions are gonna be.

P.S: Conor already spoke to Dana White and asked for the rematch. Seems he’s taking the loss well though, which is a nice thing to see after the dust has settled. The double champ is still one of the best.

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