Khabib’s Explosion: Was it Unexpected and Justified?
By: William Holmes
“This is respect sport….This is not trash-talking sport…I don’t want people talk shit about opponents, talk shit about his father, religion. You cannot talk about religion. You cannot talk about nation. Guys, you cannot talk about this stuff.”-Khabib Nurmagomedov
The talk of the combat sporting world this weekend was the Khabib vs. Conor McGregor UFC fight, which featured Khabib picking McGregor apart before submitting him in the fourth round, then suddenly jumping out of the octagon cage and into the crowd to attack Dillon Danis, a member of McGregor’s team who was sitting cage side and allegedly taunting Khabib.
Chaos ensued afterwards and members of Khabib’s team jumped in the cage to attack McGregor. Suspensions will likely be given out, loss of purse and titles are also a possibility.
The sports world was divided. Were Khabib’s actions justified? Were his actions unexpected?
In order to attempt to understand Khabib, one first has to understand his background and where he is from, something that he was evidently trying to explain in his post fight explanation.
Khabib is from Dagestan, a Russian republic. It has been the forefront of Islamic Insurgency and ethnic tension since the 1990s. It borders Chechnya, the location of a severe conflict with Russia that often featured Chechen fighters infiltrating Dagestan to call for Jihad.
Khabib is a devout Sunni Muslim and well educated. He speaks several languages and is very proud of his culture and heritage.
Insults aimed at his religion or nation are not taken likely. I’m not arguing that Khabib is a terrorist or that he supports armed violent jihad, but pointing out that disrespect against his religion is taken very seriously.
So should we have been surprised by Khabib’s actions? Well, if you had some general knowledge about the region he is from, probably not. McGregor is notorious for his trash talking, but when he insulted Khabib he questioned the support Khabib has in his nation, mocked Khabib by offering him alcohol even though he’s a Muslim who does not drink, and called his manager a terrorist rat.
Khabib has been exposed to religious warfare and terrorism, and to lump him and his team with real terrorists was undoubtedly an insult that he could not ignore.
Khabib claims Dillon Danis hurled Muslim insults at him after the fight and that’s why he jumped over the fence, a claim Danis denies. But nobody should have been surprised that Khabib was still fired up after his fight with McGregor was over.
“I know my father’s gonna smash me when I go home because…I know he’s gonna smash me.”-Khabib Nurmagomedov
“I think that for Khabib, the most severe sanctions would be my regard. I am going to regard this severely. I warned him. For me, the most important thing is discipline. You can do whatever you want in the octagon, but beyond its barrier-this is the border separating civilians, there are children, women, bystanders.
This fight took place within the octagon. That’s the spectacle But I am categorically against fighting outsid the octagon. Outside of the octagon, you need to exist peacefully. Fight in the octagon.”
Now for the million dollar, or two million dollar question. Were his actions justified?
Pre-fight trash talk has been a part of combat sports for years. McGregor and Mayweather’s trash talk was probably more entertaining than the actual fight itself.
But even though Mayweather and McGregor insulted each other greatly leading up to the fight, they were able to be cordial in the post fight interviews.
It’s difficult to find too many situations where a fighter leaped into the crowd immediately after a fight to engage someone in the crowd.
But there has been several situations where members of a boxer’s team jumped in a cage to start a brawl, and they were usually dealt with by the commission harshly.
Roger Mayweather jumped in the ring when Floyd fought Zab Judah and was hit with a low blow and a punch behind the head. An all out melee ensued when members from both camps entered the ring and brawled. Afterwards, Yoel Judah was fined $100,000 and had his license revoked for a year. Roger Mayweather was fined $200,000 and had his license revoked for one year. Leonard Ellerbe was fined $50,000 and had his license revoked for four months. Even Zab Judah received a fine of $350,000 and had his license revoked for a year.
Another example of a brawl happening in boxing was during the riot during the first Riddick Bowe/Andrew Golota fight. The fight was stopped after Golota landed several low blows on Bowe after repeated warnings. Members of Bowe’s security team jumped in the ring and went after Golota.
Rock Newman, Bowe’s manager and promoter, was suspended for a year and fined $250,000 for the incident.
More recently, one would have to look at the fight between Jose Uzcategui and Andre Dirrell, which featured Leon Lawson Jr., the Uncle of Dirrell, sucker punch Uzcategui. Lawson was suspended by the Maryland State Athletic Commission and faced criminal charges as a result.
Of course, one of the most famous post fight brawls or sucker punches was when James Butler sucker punched Richard Grant on ESPN after he lost his fight. He was charged with assault and suspended. In fact, he served four months at Rikers Island as a result.
Were his actions, jumping into the crowd to attack bystanders, justified? Precedent by athletic commission for boxers and members of their team behaving poorly and attacking fighters after a sanctioned fight is over are usually dealt with harshly.
There really isn’t any specific precedent to determine if the actions of Khabib were justified, but it appears likely that the commission won’t find any justification for a fighter to jump into a crowd to start a wild brawl, and will also likely deal with him harshly.
Justified? Also no.
Khabib’s punishment awaits.
Conor McGregor Rumored to Have Been in an Irish Bar Room Brawl with Gangster
By Bryanna Fissori
No, we can’t even make this stuff up. Well, maybe someone did, but it wasn’t us . . .
MMA Lightweight UFC Champion and 0-1 Pro Boxer Conor McGregor is doing and excellent job of living up to his “Notorious” nickname. The 29 year old has been at the forefront of combat sports media since the late spring when talk of him making a boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather first started to make headlines. The ebb and flow of the media frenzy that follows McGregor is still going strong, now surrounding a number of things including:
· Talks of increased pay for MMA fighters
· Potential boxing match ups
· Rumors of a rematch with Mayweather
· Pushing a referee during a Bellator MMA (another MMA promotion) fight card
· Crossover to WWE professional wrestling
· And most recently . . .
The Bar Room Brawl
Just days ago it was reported that McGregor was in a bar room brawl with some famous Irish gangsters. If you think this sounds like it should be an important scene out of an old-school boxing movie, we agree.
The Black Forge Inn in the Dublin suburb of Crumlin is where the fight was said to have taken place. Some claims have stated that the man assaulted by McGregor was the father of Kinahan lieutenant Graham “The Wig” Whelan. Whelan is one of the country’s most feared gangsters, though there are no specific stats on how many scary gangsters are in Ireland, but it appears that there are a number of them.
The unconfirmed reports that have surfaced across European media outlets claim that senior members of Ireland’s infamous Kinahan crime cartel are seeking retribution against McGregor for the incident.
Police in the area have been informed of the supposed incident, but since no actual reports have been made, there is nothing for them to do.
The Kinahan Crime Cartel and Boxing
The last time the Kinahan gang and McGregor were seen on the same headline is when reports surfaced that 59 members of the cartel were flying into Las Vegas, Nevada to watch McGregor’s boxing match against Mayweather. This excluded members who were still exiled or in hiding.
Ties to boxing are strong in the Kinahan gang. Daniel Kinahan, who is the grandson of cartel founder Christy Kinahan, has been a boxing promoter and manager for some time. The Marbella Gym, which was started by Daniel Kinahan is estimated to be home to 100 or so fighters. Early in 2017 Kinahan decided to take a backseat due to bad publicity and the gym has been rebranded under the name Mack The Knife (MTK).
The “bad publicity” stems heavily from a boxing weight-in event gone bad, when a rival gang showed up with AK47s to take out Kinahan members. There was only one death in the 2016 attack.
Irish fighter, Jamie “The Nuisance” Kavanagh (20-1) was present at that event, weighing in for a fight that would be canceled due to the incident.
The UFC Unconcerned with the McGregor Incident
“I don’t think it’s true,” said UFC President Dana White. “Because if it was true, it would be big. Conor can walk down the street and it’s big news now. If this were true, I just have to believe it would be off-the-charts crazy. If it’s true, we’ll end up finding out. I can’t chase all these things around. If it’s true, we’ll get it figured out and we’ll go from there.”
As far as the UFC is concerned, Conor’s next move should be focusing on a potential fight with interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson, though there is no official confirmation on the next bout for McGregor.
McGregor Welcoming the Publicity
Though he has neither confirmed nor denied the bar room incident, McGregor did acknowledge it on his social media. Initial news reports claimed that a “celebrity” was involved in the fight. McGregor posted a silent video with his face partially covered by his jacket and simply labeled it “The Celebrity.” He has not made any other public comments referring to the event.