Where do we begin? Saturday’s UFC 229 was supposed to have been remembered as a fantastic evening of combat sports action, highlighted by the Lightweight title contest won by Khabib Nurmagomedov (fourth-round submission.)
Yet, here we are, just barely removed from the card, and our focus of discussion is sadly on what happened after Nurmagomedov submitted Conor McGregor.
Our focus of discussion is not on the incredible entrance made by McGregor, with layers of fog covering the mat as he walked out, nor is it on the X-rated response by Derrick Lewis in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan on Saturday night.
Our focus of discussion is on the disgusting brawl that took place after the main event wrapped Saturday night.
For the benefit of those of you who did not watch the fight, let’s explained what happened.
After Nurmagomedov successfully defended his belt, the fracas ensued. The champion jumped over the cage and began attacking Bellator Middleweight Dillon Danis, a teammate of McGregor’s, followed by an all-out brawl.
In a post-fight interview with Megan Olivi on FS1, Dana White confirmed that three of Nurmagomedov’s teammates had already been taken under arrest and had gone to jail.
Due to the brawl after the title fight, Dana White made the decision against presenting the belt to Nurmagomedov in the cage, fearing an even worse reaction from the crowd at T-Mobile Arena.
Both fighters were removed from the cage by security and Bruce Buffer announced Nurmagomedov as the winner solo.
This is, quite simply, a black eye for not only UFC and MMA, but combat sports as a whole. We all know MMA is a violent sport by nature, but MMA’s violence should be confined to the realm of competitive violence.
There is no denying that Dana White’s decision to not present the belt to Khabib Nurmagomedov was the right call. Now, it’s time for him to make another correct decision.
Dana White should make the decision to strip the Lightweight title from Khabib Nurmagomedov. In my opinion, anyone who engages in or provokes that kind of reprehensible, thuggish behavior is 100 percent unfit to hold the title.
Jim Rome said it best with this tweet:
Khabib just took one of the best moments in UFC history and ruined it
— Jim Rome (@jimrome) October 7, 2018
White told reporters at the post-fight press conference that Nurmagomedov’s purse from Saturday’s main event has already been withheld by the Nevada State Athletic Commission
In addition, White also informed the press of the possibility of a suspension and monetary fines for the champion, as well as problems with securing a visa.
Should there be a suspension for Nurmagomedov? Should the forfeiture of his title should come along with it?
Sadly, these kinds of actions at sporting events are nothing new.
In 2001, an NFL game was held in Cleveland between the Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars. After Browns receiver Quincy Morgan caught a pass from quarterback Tim Couch, the offense scurried to the line of scrimmage and Couch spiked the ball, thus killing any possibility of a booth-initiated review (as this play occurred inside two minutes left in regulation.)
The officiating crew still called for a review and reversed the decision, prompting the rowdy fanbase to hurl beer bottles.
The game was initially called off with 48 seconds left until then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue ordered the remaining time to be played, with Jacksonville winning 15-10.
On Nov. 19, 2004, the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons squared off in an early NBA regular season contest, a rematch of the previous season’s Eastern Conference Finals. With 45.9 seconds remaining in the game and Indiana already leading by 15 points, Detroit center Ben Wallace got fouled by Ron Artest, leading to a donnybrook and the game’s premature end.
The video speaks for itself:
The common thread with the examples here is that they were uncalled for, just as the fracas at UFC 229 was uncalled for.
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