NSAC Releases Details on Infamous McGregor/Nurmagomedov Brawl, Suspension, and Fines
By: Jesse Donathan
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) released the details surrounding the fines and suspensions Tuesday in relation to the October 6, 2018 UFC 229 brawl that saw UFC star Conor McGregor lose to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov immediately before a brawl broke out cage side between Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor’s Brazilian Jiujitsu coach and Bellator MMA fighter Dillon Danis. “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov flew over the cage and jumped into the sea of spectators to sink his talons into the Jiujitsu prodigy before security quickly intervened and escorted Danis out of the arena.
While that brawl was in the process of being extinguished outside the cage, members of Nurmagomedov’s entourage stormed the Octagon where McGregor himself was the target of retribution from team Nurmagomedov. It was a wild, chaotic scene as McGregor was actively engaged inside the cage after an exhausting, unsuccessful effort against Nurmagomedov by members of Nurmagomedov’s Fight Spirit team who were seeking redemption for the notorious UFC 223 media day scrum bus attack by Conor McGregor and his crew.
That incident, itself a retaliation for an earlier encounter by McGregor’s teammate, the now former UFC fighter Artem Lobov who has been released from the promotion according to Tristen Critchfield in a January 29, 2019 Sherdog.com report titled, “Conor McGregor training partner Artem Lobov released by the UFC.” Lobov was confronted by Nurmagomedov in a hotel lobby after comments Lobov had made publicly concerning the amount of fights Nurmagomedov had previously pulled out of, even going as far as to question the Dagestani champion’s heart and professionalism according to a 2018 givemesport.com article titled, “The exact reason why Khabib Nurmagomedov slapped Artem Lobov in Brooklyn” by Raza Kazi.
In a January 29, 2019 MMA Fighting piece titled, “Khabib Nurmagomedov receives nine-month suspension, $500K fine for role in UFC 229 brawl” by Alexander K. Lee, Nurmagomedov’s “suspension can be reduced by up to three months pending Nurmagomedov’s participation in an anti-bullying public service announcement that must be approved by the NAC.”
Long time MMA reporter Josh Gross reported via a January 29, 2019 Twitter post that Conor McGregor received a six-month suspension and $50K fine, while the Nurmagomedov team members who stormed the cage, Abubakar Nurmagomedov and UFC fighter Zubaira Tukhugov, both received one-year suspensions and $25k fines.
According to a January, 29 2019 cbssports.com article titled, “Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov receive punishments stemming from UFC 229 brawl” by Brian Campbell, McGregor will be eligible to compete as early as April while Nurmagomedov could be eligible to return as early as July of this year. Campbell would go on to report, “Ali Abdelaziz, Nurmagomedov’s manager, told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on Tuesday that his fighter will pay the fines for both of his teammates. He also complained about the differences in punishments between McGregor and Nurmagomedov. ‘I don’t think it’s fair,’ Abdelaziz said. “Khabib gets $500,000 and Conor gets $50,000?”
McGregor was coming off a nearly two year lay off prior to losing to Nurmagomedov, a period that saw the UFC two division champion score the opportunity of a lifetime to fight one of boxings all-time great champions in Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0), losing to Mayweather in 10 rounds by TKO in a crossover fight where Mayweather reportedly carried the Irishmen according to a December 7, 2017 ESPN “Pardon The Interruption” YouTube video upload featuring Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser.
Nurmagomedov himself is now looking to win the lottery, according to a January 28, 2019 MMAfighing.com article titled, “Report: Joe Rogan ‘guarantees’ Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Floyd Mayweather would sell ‘at least 1M PPV buys’ by Jeb Meshew, “Khabib has been teasing a potential crossover fight Mayweather since he submitted McGregor at UFC 229 and just last week, doubled down on the idea.”
This fight would absolutely resemble a real-life Rocky story, where an improbable fighter who doesn’t belong in there with the flamboyant, dominant champion manages to score the fight of a lifetime and takes the opportunity deadly serious while the rest of the world writes him off before the fight even occurs. Nurmagomedov would be coming to win, make no mistake about it, however unlikely his chances may actually seem to be. Mayweather is 50-0 for a reason, and should be able to handle the far less experienced mixed martial arts champion Nurmagomedov with relative ease considering it would be a professional boxing match but nobody told “The Eagle” that.
McGregor and Malignaggi in Talks?
By: Michael Kane
Could Conor McGregor be making a return to boxing this year?
Rumors are starting to spread in the UK and Ireland that suggest it may be likely.
Several boxing and MMA sites have said they have it from credible sources that discussions about a McGregor v Paulie Malignaggi fight have begun. The Sun newspaper today announced that the pair were in talks.
There has been a long running feud between the two fighters, ever since footage was leaked of a McGregor-Malignaggi sparring practice in the build up to the McGregor v Mayweather bout in 2017. In the footage it appeared Malignaggi had been floored by McGregor, this was dismissed by Malignaggi, who claims he was pushed. He then left McGregor’s training camp and has continually took to social media to vent against McGregor and his team.
McGregor returned to the UFC and was soundly defeated by lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, submitting in the 4th round. Before this bout it was reported that McGregor had signed a multi fight deal to compete on the UFC.
Could the fight take place as part of a Zuffa Boxing promotion, a move Dana White, the UFC President has mooted in the past. The UFC also made moves into boxing by recently signing a deal with Roy Jones Jr Boxing Promotions to show events live on UFC Fight Pass.
Whether this fight comes to fruition, time will tell. Is it a fight boxing aficionados would savour? I doubt it.
Khabib vs. McGregor in Boxing?
By: Michael Kane
Conor McGregor fought UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October, and was convincingly defeated. McGregor would like a rematch and so it seems would Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father.
Only next time in a boxing ring.
After the Dagestani’s win, he called out Floyd Mayweather, Mayweather said the fight may happen and that he could make more money fighting Khabib than he did when he beat McGregor in the 10th round last year.
The rumours on this potential match up have gone quiet and now it seems Khabib and his team still fancy a boxing bout against his old foe, McGregor.
Whether this would hold much appeal to boxing aficionados around the world is debatable however, could it launch the much talked about entrance to the boxing world of Zuffa Boxing?
Speaking to Russian newspaper, Izvestia, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said, “As for the fight against Conor under boxing rules, this is a fight we are interested in. Khabib showed that he is able to beat the best strikers of mixed martial arts.
“He said this before, but few believed it. However, after strong victories over Michael Johnson, Edson Barboza and Conor, people begin to believe.”
Nurmagomedov knocked McGregor to the canvas in the second round of their bout at UFC 229 and may have taken some confidence that He could out strike the Irishman.
“Nurmagomedov is able to do it in the boxing ring. Khabib has all the skills to win by the rules of boxing. One of the key skills can be called endurance.
“I remember his five round fight with (Al) Iaquinta, in which Khabib showed his willingness to fight in absolutely any area, using everything from a left jab to control on the ground. I want to note that the fight against Iaquinta was of great importance to us, there was a belt at stake and it was important to keep the bout calm and take the win. Which we did!”
Mayweather Says He’ll Rematch McGregor : “I’m Helping Keep Combat Sports Alive!”
By: Sean Crose
Give this to Floyd Mayweather – the man knows how to keep himself in the spotlight. After it looked like his pay per view numbers might be starting to decline a while back, he finally agreed to meet Manny Pacquiao in what many observers felt was the money grab to end all money grabs. How wrong those observers were. For just over two years later, Mayweather got in the ring with the MMAs biggest star, the one man knee jerk reaction to every anti-bullying campaign known to man, Conor McGregor. Mayweather essentially made easy work of his Irish foe…only to just recently declare he would rematch Pacquiao in the near future.
Since then, Mayweather’s focus has apparently switched to Khabib Nomagomedov, the UFC star who recently came close to choking McGregor into oblivion. “Oh, we fighting!” Mayweather recently said of the Russian terror. “He called me out, so he gotta come to my world.” Naturally. One simply can’t expect a world class wrestler to wrestle. There’s simply too much money to be made leaving the cage for the ring and getting punched out by an aging boxing great. Or is there? If Khabib was only kidding when he called out Mayweather (which he did last week) this might all be nonsense.
Then again, who knows? At any rate, Mayweather is back in the news today, via TMZ, claiming he’s ready to give McGregor a rematch after fighting Khabib (one has to wonder how many beatings McGregor has left in him at this point). “After me and Khabib lock up,” he’s quoted as saying, “me and McGregor we gonna lock up again.” Mayweather, grandiose as ever, is also quoted as saying: “I’m helping keep combat sports alive!”” Perhaps Mayweather hasn’t heard of the massive 300 million plus deal former foe Canelo Alvarez has made with DAZN streaming service, or of the huge pay per view numbers such fights as Canelo-Golovkin and McGregor-Nurmogomadov have recently done. One suspects, however, that Mayweather has been kept well abreast of such news, hence the splashy headlines he’s taken to dishing out as of late.
Canelo, boxing’s new king (though many feel he lost his recent bout to Gennady Golovkin, only to be saved by the judges), is patently unimpressed with Mayweather’s latest round of media proclamations. “He wants to continue hurting boxing,” says the Mexican star of Mayweather, “by making fights that don’t make sense … and not giving boxing the credibility it deserves.” A younger, less able version of Canelo lost by decision to Mayweather in a massive 2013 bout. Now the Mexican himself wants a second chance.
“If he wants to return,” Canelo says of Mayweather, “I ask him to look my way to give a great fight to the fans.”
Mayweather Weighs In On McGregor-Khabib Fiasco
By: Sean Crose
Conor McGregor lost his second fight in a row last weekend, if you count his boxing match last year against Floyd Mayweather. This time, however, McGregor was back on his home turf, out of the ring and inside the cage where UFCs best prove their mettle. It was a one sided affair, with Russian lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov dominating his foe throughout most of the match before forcing the Irish star to tap out in the fourth round. No doubt it was a brilliant performance from Khabib. Unfortunately, the wrestler afterwards jumped out of the cage and attacked a member of McGregor’s team. Needless to say chaos ensued.
It’s easy for boxing fans to shake their collective heads at the supposed barbarity of the UFC, but boxing has earned quite a reputation of its own when it comes to combat sport’s insanity. As bad as last weekend was, at least no one lost an ear. One boxer is particularly qualified to talk about combat sport chaos. For Mayweather’s bout with Zab Judah famously turned chaotic when it went down back in 2006. “I’m not too familiar with the guy McGregor was fighting,” Mayweather is quoted as saying in regards to last weekend’s madness, “but I know the guy he was facing was undefeated.” Mayweather went on to condemn Saturday’s post fight action. “McGregor is a tough competitor,” he claimed, “but McGregor’s opponent jumped out of the ring and was fighting people in the crowd so, very unprofessional.”
Mayweather was notably cool when insanity erupted around him in the ring over a decade ago. He also knows, from facing McGregor, what it’s like to deal with the man’s taunts (it was the taunts that apparently took Khabib over the edge). Unlike Khabib, however, Mayweather remained sportsmanlike after defeating the controversial mma celebrity. “It’s going to be a huge fine,” Mayweather said of the penalties awaiting those involved in the McGregor-Khabib fracas. “I’m pretty sure because with my fight against Zab Judah, there was a crazy melee in the ring and a huge penalty – a huge fine. If I’m not mistaken, seven figures.”
Like McGregor, Mayweather knows how to get under the skin of an opponent. One thing the man has long been noted for, however, is discipline and self control when being under the bright lights. “I know when a guy’s jumping out of the cage into the audience and fighting different people,” Mayweather stated, “the fine is going to be crazy.”
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.
Media Still Insists On Comparing McGregor To Ali
By: Sean Crose
One of the interesting things that got lost in the madness leading up to Conor McGregor’s MMA superfight with Khabib Nurmagomadedov last weekend was McGregor being compared to Muhammad Ali before the media. To his credit, McGregor squashed the talk. One might think that would have been that, especially since McGregor was all but wiped out in his subsequent fight with Nurmagomedov last Saturday.
One would have been wrong.
Mere days after the UFC’s biggest star essentially got steamrolled in the octagon, there are those in the media still banging the McGregor-Ali drum. The latest? Yahoo running a piece comparing the McGregor-Nurmagomedov rivalry to that of Ali and Frazier. Let’s be frank – the comparison is a stretch. Frazier barely bested Ali in the first of their three matches. The two subsequent Ali-Frazier bouts (which Ali won) were likewise brutal and razor thin.
McGregor has only met Nurmagomedov in the octagon once to date, and with the exception of a single round, the Irishman was dominated. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce the obvious…McGregor got outclassed last weekend. He lost, just as he had lost numerous times before. Ali lost, too, but never in as one sided a manner as McGregor did against Nurmagomedov. It took an illness and 38 years for Ali to suffer the kind of one sided embarrassment to Larry Holmes that a 30 year old McGregor just suffered to his Russian foil.
A bit of hard truth….McGregor simply isn’t as good a mixed martial artist as Ali was a boxer. He just isn’t. And that simple fact should preclude any comparison between the two men right from the get go. McGregor may be better at mind games – though that’s arguable – but there might have been 10 other boxers in Ali’s time who were better than Ali at mind games. We’d never know who they were because they most likely wouldn’t have been as great as Ali when it came down to skill.
Despite what some say, talk isn’t cheap…at least not on all occasions. A great fighter, though, must consistently fight at least as good as he or she talks. And McGregor doesn’t do that. Not consistently he doesn’t. Not anymore. One doesn’t have to delve into social issues to see McGregor and Ali are like apples and oranges. One can simply keep the argument to the ring and to the octagon. It’s not bias to claim McGregor is no Ali. It’s just a relatively small act of honesty. The world of mixed martial arts may indeed produce the next Ali, and there will be nothing wrong with it if it does.
Just don’t expect it to be Conor McGregor.
UFC 229 Results: Khabib Submits McGregor and Immediately Shames MMA
By: William Holmes
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for the biggest UFC PPV of 2018, featuring a main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor for the UFC Lightweight Title.
Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account
The arena was starting to fill by the time of the first fight of the main card of the ppv, a strawweight woman’s bout between Michelle Waterson (15-6) and Felice Herrig (14-7).
Waterson opened up with using her kicks more like jabs and was effective with her front leg side kick to the thigh. Herrig was able to land a solid straight right in the opening round, but Waterson was more effective with her strikes.
Herrig was able to get Waterson’s back against the cage in the early moments of the second round, but Waterson was eventually able to break free and land a hard high kick to the head of Herrig before throwing her to the ground. Waterson was able to finish the second round with some strong ground and pound.
Herrig was able to find some success in the third round with her dirty boxing and was able to defend one of Waterson’s takedown attempts and maintain control on top. But Waterson was able to land some hard elbows from the bottom and briefly threatened with an omoplata.
The final scores were 30-26, 29-28, and 30-27 for Michelle Waterson.
The next bout of the night was a heavyweight bout between Former M1 Heavyweight Champion Alexander Volkov (29-6) and Derrick Lewis (20-5) .
Volkov was the much taller fighter and was controlling the first round with his reach and counter right hands. He was able to get side mount and transition to taking the back of Lewis, but Lewis was able to regain top position and land some short elbows as the round ended.
Volkov was able to stun Lewis with a combination in the opening minutes of the second round and had the left eye of Lewis swollen. Lewis took several hard shots but was able to stay on his feet.
Lewis took several hard right hands form Volkov in first half of the third round but showed he had a strong chin and took his best shots. Lewis looked like he was going towards a decision loss but he landed a devastating right cross followed by some concussive ground and pound that turned off the lights of Volkov.
Derrick Lewis wins by shocking knockout at 4:49 of the third round.
The next bout of the night was between Ovince Saint Preux (22-11) and Dominick Reyes (9-0) in the light heavyweight division.
Reyes, a southpaw, exchanged body kicks with Saint Preux in the opening round and was able to stuff the takedown attempts of Saint Preux. Reyes was able to land some short elbows to the side of Saint Preux’s head on some of the takedown attempts, and had Ferguson is applying pressure. Lands a hard straight right.
By the second round Reyes had landed six times the number of strikes that Saint Preux had landed, and had the forehead of Saint Preux badly bleeding. Saint Preux looked exhausted near the end of the second and Reyes had built a comfortable lead.
Saint Preux needed a stoppage in the final round to pull out the victory and he did press the action, but Reyes was able to fight wisely and suddenly landed a stunning left cross to the chin of Saint Preux that sent him crashing to the mat as the round came to an end.
Dominick Reyes wins by decision with scores of 30-27 on all three scorecards.
The co-main event of the night was between Tony Ferguson (25-3) and Anthony Pettis (21-7) in the lightweight division.
Ferguson looked like the significantly bigger man but was hobbled by leg kicks from Pettis early on. Ferguson and Pettis both tried spinning back fists in the opening round and were able to land hard shots, but Ferguson was landing the harder shots.
Pettis was able to drop Ferguson early in the second round, who had blood pouring out of his mouth from the shots of Pettis. Ferguson was able to cut Pettis to and get back to his feet and recover, and continued to apply continuous pressure and pound on Pettis from cage side to cage side. Pettis had a cut by his hairline and the ringside doctor took a look at it but allowed the fight to continue. Pettis got tagged badly several times as the round came to an end.
When Pettis went back to his corner he told his corner he broke his hand and his corner stopped the fight
Tony Ferguson wins by TKO at the end of the second round due to a broken right hand on Anthony Pettis.
The main event was between Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) and Conor McGregor (21-3) for the UFC Lightweight Title.
McGregor, despite being the bigger draw, entered the Octagon first to a positive fan reaction and Khabib entered second to mainly boos and jeers.
McGregor pressed forward in the opening round and was able to land an overhand right and some low leg kicks. Khabib went immediately for a takedown and McGregor was able to immediately stop it. Khabib completed the takedown and finished the round on top of McGregor but was not able to do much damage from there.
McGregor got tagged with an unexpected vicious overhand right in the second round by Khabib that had McGregor mometarily hurt. Both were throwing hard, wild punches and Khabib goes in for a takedown and is able to finish it. Khabib lands some hard ground and pound through the remainder of the round and at one point threatens McGregor with a kimura but doesn’t finish it.
McGregor had a much better third round and was able to tag Khabib with several combinations and stuffed his takedown attempts. McGregor appeared to gain some momentum this round and Khabib showed signs of tiring.
Khabib appeared fired up at the end of the third round and was yelling at McGregor as he went back to his corner.
Khabib opened up the fourth round by throwing a wild two punch combination but missed wildly, and McGregor was able to land with a two punch combination of his own. Khabib goes in for a takedown and completes it and transitions into a full mount. Khabib lands some heavy ground and pound before before taking McGregor’s back and sinking in a rear naked choke.
McGregor is forced to tap and Khabib doesn’t immediately let go. As Khabib rises to his feet he appears to spit in the direction of McGregor and immediately begins yelling at the corner of McGregor.
Khabib, who just had the biggest win of his career, then goes nuclear and jumps out of the octagon and goes after one of McGregor’s cornermen and starts a fight in the crowd.
All hell breaks loose and one of Khabib’s teammates jumps in the ring and begins unloading on McGregor. It takes several minutes before officials are able to restore order.
Khabib, still enraged, demands his belt but Dana White refuses to put it on him. Khabib is escorted out of the cage and into the back with a lengthy suspension almost certainly to follow.
A career defining win for Khabib turns into one of the most shameful moments in MMA history.
UFC 229 Preview: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will host the biggest pay per view of the year in either boxing or MMA as the UFC Lightweight Title will be up for grabs when undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov faces Conor McGregor in the main event of the evening.
McGregor is the UFC’s biggest draw, and Khabib is McGregor’s toughest test to date in MMA. This blockbuster event will be getting a lot of attention in the mainstream media leading up to Saturday.
The co-main event of the evening will be between Anthony Pettis and Tony Ferguson in the lightweight division. The winner of this bout will likely be in line for a future title shot against the winner of Khabib and McGregor.
Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account
The undercard has some intriguing fights throughout. Ovince Saint Preux will face Dominick Reyes in the light heavyweight division, Derrick Lewis will face Alexander Volkov in the heavyweight division, Sergio Pettis will face Jussier Formiga in the flyweight division, and Michelle Waterson will face Felice Herrig in the Women’s Straweight division.
The UFC tends to show more fights on their pay per view offerings than boxing so five fights will likely be televised.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and the main event of the night.
Anthony Pettis (21-7) vs. Tony Ferguson (23-3); Lightweights
The winner of the co-main event of the night will likely move on to a future title shot.
Anthony Pettis was once considered a top rated contender, but he has struggled recently and has only gone 3-3 in his last six fights, and actually has a losing record of 3-5 in his last eight fights.
Tony Ferguson has been on a roll and is currently riding a ten fight win streak. However, his activity is of some concern as he has only fought three times since the beginning of 2016, while Pettis has fought seven times since the beginning of 2016.
Ferguson is 34 years old and three years older than Pettis. Ferguson will have a very slight two inch height advantage on Pettis.
Both fighters like to finish their fight. Of Pettis’ 21 victories, 17 have come by way of stoppage. 18 of Ferguson’s victories have come by way of stoppage.
There really is no such thing as an easy fight in the UFC. Pettis has defeated the likes of Michael Chiesa, Jim Miller, Charles Oliveira, Gilbert Melendez, and Benson Henderson. His losses were to Rafael Dos Anjos, Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza, Max Holloway, and Dustin Poirier.
Ferguson’s only losses were to Michael Johnson and two lesser known fighters very early in his career. He has defeated the likes of Kevin Lee, Rafael Dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Josh Thomson, Gleison Tibau, Abel Trujillo, and Danny Castillo.
Pettis might have a slight edge in striking, but Ferguson has a strong edge in grappling. Ferguson was a NCWA Collegiate National Champion in Wrestling and was a high school state champion in Michigan. Pettis didn’t pick up on grappling until later on in his life.
Ferguson should win this fight by decision. He’s never been stopped by strikes in his career, and that’s Anthony Pettis’ best weapon.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) vs. Conor McGregor (21-3); UFC Lightweight Championship
As stated earlier, there really is no such thing as an easy fight in the UFC, and that’s why it’s very impressive for Khabib Nurmagomedov to have an undefeated record.
Khabib is a fighter with a very strong grappling background. He was born in Dagestan, Russia and has never lost. His win streak currently stands at 26 victories in a row.
Both Khabib and McGregor are 30 years old, though Khabib will have a two inch height advantage on McGregor.
Khabib has a history of injuries and trouble making weight, though he has made weight for this weekend. 16 of his 26 wins were by stoppage, with eight by TKO and eight by submission.
McGregor’s excitement as a fighter is much more than his personality. Of McGregor’s 21 victories, 18 have come by TKO/KO and one by submission. Only two of his wins were by judges decision.
Neither fighter can consider themselves to be super active since 2016. Khabib fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and twice in 2016. McGregor did not fight yet in an MMA cage in 2018 or 2017. He fought three times in 2016 and was last seen competing in a boxing ring when he was stopped by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor has beaten the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Nate Diaz, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Dennis Silver, Dustin Poirier, and Max Holloway. His losses were to Joseph Duffy, Nate Diaz, and Artemij Sitenkov.
Nobody has ever beaten Khabib. He has defeated the likes of Al Iaquinta, Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson, Darrel Horcher, Rafael Dos Anjos, Thiago Tavares, and Gleison Tibau.
One of the biggest factors that jumps out at this writer is that McGregor’s three losses were all by submission and he’s facing a fighter who’s known for being a very strong grappler. Khabib has finished 8 previous opponents by submission.
If McGregor is going to win he’ll have to stop Khabib with strikes, it’s difficult to imagine him keeping the fight standing for five rounds.
Even though McGregor recently signed a lucrative contract extension with the UFC and is their most popular fighter, his recent inactivity and weakness in grappling will likely be issues that Khabib will exploit.
This writer feels that Khabib’s strengths will make for a very bad matchup for McGregor on Saturday.
McGregor Claims He’ll Take What He Learned Boxing Into Octagon
By: Sean Crose
“I’ve been on both sides of the world,” Conor McGregor said during a Thursday press conference to promote his UFC superfight with Khabib Nurmagomedov. “I’ve been on the boxing side and I’ve been on this side.” Rather than blow off last year’s fight with Floyd Mayweather, where he was stopped in the tenth round by the fighter known as “Money” in the boxing ring, McGregor made it clear to the media that he’s willing to take what he’s learned from the sweet science and bring it into the octagon.
“We are looking forward to showcasing to the world what I have learned from my boxing venture,” McGregor said, “and through my return to mma with this boxing venture.” No one would deny that McGregor certainly benefited financially from his foray into boxing, for the man reportedly earned roughly one hundred million dollars fighting Mayweather. “From the last match,” McGregor said, “I’m set for life.” Nurmagomedov himself enjoyed mentioning McGregor’s bout with Mayweather. “After this fight he goes back to boxing,” the undefeated Russian claimed.
The press conference was certainly a heated, sometimes tedious affair, with McGregor behaving over top and perhaps a bit inebriated as he drank his own brand of “Proper” whiskey before the media. “This is a direct competitor to Jameson,” the outspoken Dubliner said, in reference to the famous Irish whiskey. The main topic of conversation, however, remained the grudge match the two fighters are set to have in a few weeks. “When he’s tired, he always gives up,” said Nurmagomedov in his broken English. “He move to box(ing) and he tap there.”
When asked directly about the Mayweather fight, McGregor – who loves to taunt his competition during such affairs – became serious and seemingly respectful. “It was a great match,” he said of the Mayweather bout, “it was a great boxing match…30 minutes, my longest contest that was.” The biggest star in mma then went on. “I learned some things,” he added of his ring experience. “Of course you take with you from every fight, you learn and grow. I was very happy with the experience as a whole.” When asked what he thought of Mayweather’s warning that McGregor fears no one, Nurmagomedov had a ready reply. “I am the Floyd Mayweather of MMA,” he said. “You’re a door box.” McGregor snapped back.
“You’ll see on October 6th,” McGregor claimed, “the lessons I have learned.”
Media Speculates On Possibility Of Mayweather-McGregor Rematch
By: Sean Crose
ESPN, SN Sports, and undoubtedly other outlets have been talking, as it were. The subject? Mayweather-McGregor. No, you haven’t stepped into a time machine, and it isn’t 2017. You’re right here, in September of 2018. And if you thought the Mayweather-McGregor silliness ended with their insanely lucrative novelty fight last year, well, it looks like you’re mistaken. The two have been trading jabs on Twitter, you see. What’s more, McGregor, who was stopped by Mayweather in last year’s bout, has made it more than clear he wants another shot at the pound for pound great.
First, though, McGregor has to get by an undefeated and feared rival in his home sport of mixed martial arts. Khabib Nurmagomedov is the unbeaten UFC lightweight champion of the world and a notable, high energy wrestler. He and McGregor will be crossing swords this October in Vegas in a fight a considerable percentage of UFC followers expect McGregor to actually lose. The Irishman has, if you include the Mayweather bout, lost two of his last four professional contests. What’s more, some feel he should have lost his UFC rematch against Nate Diaz in 2016, as well (McGregor lost their first war by submission). Add that to the fact the UFCs biggest star hasn’t entered a professional contest in over a year, and it’s obvious there’s questions that await answers.
Should McGregor win against Nurmagomedov in the fall, however, people may start calling for a rematch with his most famous opponent in earnest. It might make sense to Mayweather and McGregor to fight again – at least to Mayweather and McGregor. Mayweather would still probably win and even if he lost, who could blame him at his age and activity level? As for McGregor – well, let’s face it, the guy has been in some real wars. His body took a ton of wear and tear in his two matches against the surly Diaz. What’s more, an unspoken aspect of the Mayweather-McGregor fight was the fact that Mayweather dished out a whole lot of head trauma to his novice foe that night. McGregor endured quite a beating from Mayweather, make no mistake about it. And a person can only suffer so much damage (or outside the ring/cage antics) before it all really starts to take it’s toll. Sooner or later, it may be wise to just cash in.
So maybe a second fight with the great Mayweather does indeed make all the sense in the world to those involved. That’s not the case for others, though. Once was surely enough as far as many are concerned, thanks very much. Not that the first match didn’t turn out to be kind of fun. McGregor did fine, all things considered, and Mayweather broke what seemed to be his own rules by making things exciting. Still, the collective groan can already be heard saying “let it go already.” There’s undoubtedly millions who would pay to see Mayweather and McGregor do it all over again, however, for a hundred dollars or so a pop on pay per view.
Which is why it might be wise not to write this rematch off as something that’s never going to happen.
Mayweather Offers His Gym To McGregor. McGregor Responds As Only He Can
By: Sean Crose
A year after handily besting UFC star Conor McGregor in the Irishman’s first boxing match, Floyd Mayweather had kind words for his former foe in a brief clip from TMZ. He even said he’d like McGregor to train at his Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas as McGregor prepares to face Khabib Nurmagomedov in an MMA superbout this October. McGregor refused Mayweather’s offer in vulgar fashion later in the afternoon, via Twitter. Not that it may bother Mayweather, who might well have been speaking off the cuff and who always appears to like to be in the headlines.
“Conor McGregor’s not gonna back down from anyone,” Mayweather says in the TMZ clip. “He’s not scared. He’s a warrior.” McGregor engaged gamely with Mayweather in last year’s novelty superbout, which he was never expected to win. Although Mayweather stopped his man in the 10th round, many were impressed that McGregor had a few competitive rounds in the early portion of the match. McGregor has since appeared frustrated by the loss, however, and there was even talk that Mayweather might make the unlikely step of moving into the MMA realm. Nothing, however, has come of such news to date. “I know that UFC got a training facility,” Mayweather claims in the TMZ clip, “but we’d like for him (McGregor) to work out at the Mayweather Boxing Club.”
Hours later, McGregor responded, via Twitter. “Fuck the Mayweathers, except Senior and Roger,” the tweet read. “There is no peace here kid. Step up or step down.” This perhaps may be in reference to Mayweather’s supposed interest in MMA. Then again, it might be McGregor simply being a bad sport. Yet it may also be that both men are doing what they do best – garnering attention. McGregor hasn’t fought, either in a ring or an octagon, since the loss to Mayweather. He’s now scheduled to fight one of the most feared men in the UFC. In fact, the odds are reportedly marking McGregor as the underdog in this impending bout, an unlikely position for the UFCs biggest star to find himself in when it comes to the world of MMA.
“I don’t really have a prediction because I’ve never seen the guy fight that’s facing Conor McGregor,” says Mayweather in the TMZ clip. “From what I know he’s a hell of a guy on the ground … hell of a grappler, and he can wrestle.” Still, Mayweather may have also added a dig of his own. “Fans want to see you stand up and fight,” he says. “That’s what the fans like to see.”
Standing up and fighting? Wonder what sport is known for that sort of thing?
Floyd Mayweather vs. Himself: The Octagon Theory
By: James Risoli
What makes a person who they are? What propels and motivates us to do the things we do? More specifically, why do fighters have such a hard time in the twilight of their careers with hanging up their gloves, unable to walk off into the sunset, after such an arduous journey which often times consists of unforgiving years of blood, sweat, and tears?
If one was to look up the word fighter in the dictionary the definition is one that any person that ever lived would know does not encapsulate it’s real world meaning. A fighter by any sense of the word is someone who challenges themselves. Who goes beyond their normal limits to achieve success in whatever endeavor they are trying to complete. A fighter may not always seek out but will always stand up to challenges and tribulations put forth or laid out before them. All fighters, especially those in the fight game, need to be able to know that the person staring back at them is the same person they believe themselves to be in their heart of hearts.
For those of us that do not know Floyd Mayweather, the man has been a fighter in every sense of the word way before any serious consideration was given to it becoming his profession. Born on February 24th 1977 in Grand Rapids Michigan and then moving at a very early age to the Hiram Square neighborhood of New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mayweather learned about the sometime all too familiar hardships of life at an early age in dealing with poverty and drugs, including a drug addicted mother. Mayweather would later say, “When I was about eight or nine, I lived in New Jersey with my mother and we were seven deep in one bedroom and sometimes we didn’t have electricity. When people see what I have now, they have no idea of where I came from and how I didn’t have anything growing up.” Mayweather’s story however, is one of a more personal nature and perhaps one that would be better told by himself than this author. However, it is important to mention because it bears significance to the “term” fighter. His story could possibly bare some insight into some of his current state of affairs and those future decisions and or plans that may be taking shape or unfolding in his mind’s eye.
By most accounts and for all intents and purposes, Floyd Mayweather has achieved everything there is to achieve in boxing. In a career that spanned two decades Mayweather has done what only one other person could, that being Rocky Marciano. 50 times Floyd Mayweather entered the ring and 50 times Floyd Mayweather’s hand was raised in victory. During his career, he has held multiple world titles in five weight classes and the lineal championship in four of those. In 2016, Mayweather was ranked as the best pound for pound fighter in the past 25 years by ESPN. He is one of the most marketable pay per view fighters of all time, as well as, one of the highest paid athletes in the world. So, the real news and noteworthy question of the day is, why after all this is Mayweather talking about the UFC and walking in the octagon?
Many people have been asking this particular question. Most people think the idea is outrageous, if not borderline crazy, or an actual joke. A statement muttered in jest. However, I for one do not believe that to be the case. Although not the norm, it is not completely uncommon for fighters to attempt a chance at crossing over from discipline to discipline. All one would have to do is just look to Floyd’s most recent and last opponent, Conor McGregor, who tried to accomplish this exact same feat. So, once again, why then is Mayweather entertaining this idea? Why after all the victories and all the achievements is it possible that this is in all actuality a real plausible possibility? Simple, because for the fighters we love and adore, those that bleed and train for the fans to see, cheer, and adore the answer is quite simple. All one would have to look at is the meaning of the word fighter.
Boxing vs. MMA, Why Crossover Fights Rarely Go Well
By: Jose Cuevas
We were treated to the first MMA versus Boxing superfight in Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather back in August of 2017. Many experts argued the fight was a blatant cash grab, a farce, and even a circus.
The fight illustrates the challenge that comes along with making a fight between a Mixed Martial Artist and a Boxer. They are cousins of one another, but they are two completely different disciplines.
One may think an elite Mixed Martial Artist should, key word should, be able to hang in the ring with an elite boxer. That proposition is absurd, mainly due to the fact that Boxers must account for only using their fists in combat. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that one form of combat is more than the other. Boxers must master controlling the distance between themselves and their opponent, use of their footwork to properly leverage all of their punches, learn to counter effectively while slipping or catching punches, etc… While mixed martial artists must try and master as many disciplines as possible.
How many times in the cage have we seen individuals proficient in wrestling or judo dominate strikers in the cage? Mixed Martial artists, to their credit, have the difficult task of being prepared for every scenario, they need to be good strikers, kickboxers, wrestlers, and submission specialists. This is why Conor McGregor lost against Floyd Mayweather. Floyd had decades of experience mastering footwork, mastering counterpunching, and mastering the sport of boxing…while Conor was proficient at best but not a master at the highest level.
Think about multitasking…MMA is the perfect form of multitasking when it comes to combat sports. While an MMA fighter is on his feet he’s thinking about what punches to land, possible takedown attempts, kicks, flying armbars, etc…the brainpower and strategy that is required to be aware of so many different variables is remarkable. Boxing exists in a controlled environment where fighters have to only worry about punches, but in only worrying about punches they use the rest of their body to maximize their punches which makes the sport unique and difficult to master at the highest level.
Imagine placing the Chess world champion in a match of Chinese checkers against the world champion, it may not make for a competitive match as the Chess expert has had years of experience mastering his/her craft in their controlled environment, while the Chinese checkers expert has done the same in their own respective controlled environment. Therein lies the key…the sports are executed in their own specific controlled environment. This isn’t the Matrix where you can plug into a program and just learn it, it takes time and lots of it.
I was recently covered Bellator 194 where Heather “The Heat” Hardy fought Ana Julaton. Hardy easily won the bout by working as hard as possible to keep the fight on her feet. Hardy is a former undefeated boxer and world champion, she undoubtedly made her mark in boxing and now hopes to make her mark in MMA. However, in her previous fight she was thoroughly annihilated by a debuting mixed martial artist.
Kristina Williams outclassed Hardy with head kicks and leg kicks and busted her wide open. Hardy was not prepared for the onslaught as Williams was an expert with her kicks and could hold Hardy’s boxing skills at bay. The fight was stopped in the second round as Hardy was bleeding profusely and she could no longer defend herself. This is a perfect example of what happens when you drop a boxer in the realm of MMA with a well-rounded mixed martial artist, it’s a whole different ball game.
Rumors have been circulating that Floyd Mayweather will enter the Octagon. That is a disastrous idea as Floyd is a master of boxing, but not a master of fighting in the uncontrolled controlled environment of MMA. However, don’t be fooled, Mayweather is a meticulous matchmaker and he may enter the cage against an opponent with little to no cage experience like CM Punk, which would level the playing field significantly. However, if he is matched with a Mickey Gall, a debuting professional MMA fighter with a lot of experience….expect him to suffer the same fate as Heather Hardy.
MMA and Boxing are too different, it will require meticulous matchmaking to make a newcomer look good in either realm. Don’t let your eyes fool you they may be combat sports…but the controlled environment of either changes the dynamic completely. The sooner we realize that the sooner we learn to respect both sports and appreciate them for what they offer to the overall realm of combat sports. In realizing that MMA and Boxing are different we can stop this madness of MMA and Boxing crossovers as rarely will you get your money’s worth…you may be getting all the spectacle you desire, but that’s a topic for another article…
Dana White Says Talks of a UFC Deal with Floyd Mayweather are Real; Mayweather Says He “Could” Do It
By Bryanna Fissori
What happens when you put to marketing geniuses in the same mass media headline? The crowd goes wild. And both Dana White (UFC President) and Floyd Mayweather Jr sure know how to work a crowd.
With the statement “Talks about a UFC deal with Floyd are real,” fans and fighters are left to fill in the blanks with assumptions and theories. The guessing game can be entertaining. Both White and Mayweather are known to choose their words carefully to promote the most amount of controversy possible.
“We’re talking to Floyd about doing a UFC deal,” White said in an interview with ESPN. “It’s real. He was talking about [boxing] Conor McGregor. Was that real? Have you heard Floyd talk about many things that aren’t real? He usually tips his hand when he’s in the media, and then that sh*t ends up happening. We’re interested in doing something with Floyd. Everything is a realistic possibility. Mayweather vs. McGregor f*cking happened. Anything is possible.”
Mayweather has rebutted the statement from White, asserting that he will not be entering the Octagon, but if he wanted to he could. And he could make a billion dollars doing it. He is not interested in competing in boxing or MMA.
“Exactly what I said is this: If I could make over a billion dollars before, I could do it again,” Mayweather said in an interview with FightHype. “If I chose to get in the UFC and fight three fights or fight four fights and then fight Conor McGregor, I could make a billion dollars. Which I can. I could do it in three fights or even four fights — I could make a billion dollars. If I choose to get in the Octagon and fight.”
“We just don’t know what the future holds for Floyd Mayweather,” Mayweather said. “And I don’t look forward to getting back in a boxing ring, that’s what I don’t look forward to. I’m just saying I could — I’m not doing it — but I’m saying what I could do to make a billion dollars quick, if I wanted to do that. That’s what I was saying. I never said I was gonna fight in the UFC. I didn’t say that. I said if I wanted to and what I could. Could and would do is different things. I’m not gonna do it, though.”
Keeping in line with the rest of the speculations, could it be that Mayweather is just staying ready in case April 15th crushes his empire with taxes? Could this be his backup plan if the money from his bout with Conor McGregor doesn’t sufficiently fund his retirement account?
Another consideration is that Mayweather, like Dana White, is a professional promoter and a successful one at that. White has already confirmed that the UFC will be hosting boxing events under the name “Zuffa Boxing.” It may be a lot for White to handle both the Octagon and the ring. Could Floyd be joining the payroll as a promoter rather than a competitor?
White and Mayweather are two very powerful men in the combat sports industry. White stated in an interview last month, that he would be speaking to a number of influencers in the boxing community as Zuffa Boxing comes to fruition. For now fighters and fans will continue to speculate as we wait to see where the pieces fit together.