Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to face punishment for starting an insane brawl following his main event win over Conor McGregor at UFC 229. There’s no denial from the UFC, fans, and media that the brawl was anything but dangerous.
It was also the kind of high drama that MMA fans live for.
Khabib leaping into the crowd to take on McGregor’s teammate Dillon Danis was the perfect extension of their pre-installed bad blood. That dates back to McGregor’s infamous Brooklyn bus attack this spring.
Khabib and McGregor will both appear before the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) in November. ‘The Eagle’s’ purse is being withheld in the meantime.
But in a somewhat odd set of circumstances, McGregor’s longtime head coach John Kavanagh hopes Khabib isn’t punished much. He discussed the brawl on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast (via MMA Fighting) today. Kavanagh can understand Khabib’s point of view for the attack.
He can’t side with his teammates who attacked McGregor, however:
“I hope [The Nevada State Athletic Commission] is lenient on [Nurmagomedov]. Not just so we can get a rematch. I just love watching him fight. I can stretch myself to understand his reaction, I can’t stretch myself to understand [his teammates] reaction. For Khabib, it’s not the end of the world.”
What Did Danis Do?
The SBG Ireland coach then dove into detail about just what Danis said to set Khabib off. In his words, Danis didn’t say anything. He did apparently motion to Khabib, however, yet Kavanagh didn’t believe it deserved the level of response it got:
“[Danis] actually didn’t say anything. I was standing beside Dillon. I didn’t see what he did but I could hear. He didn’t say anything. When I watched it back I could see him beckon [Nurmagomedov] on. It’s just stupid end of fight stuff.
“But it didn’t justify that level of response. Maybe there was something else in the build up. Dillon is a little bit of trouble online. But, like I said, it wasn’t that big of a deal to me what Khabib did. It just really wasn’t.”
Kavanagh’s taking a rather nonchalant approach to the whole scene. It echoes Khabib’s own response that played down the brawl down. He may understand where Khabib is coming from after the bus attack and endless personal insults in the lead-up to the fight. No one could blame him if that was the case.
So what Khabib did wasn’t a big deal to him. It was much more concerning what Khabib’s teammates did to a tired McGregor. Kavanagh insisted that an actual crime of assault:
“Like I said, if Khabib had done that isolated, I didn’t think it was a big deal,” said Kavanagh. “He didn’t really hit Dillon. There was a bit of pushing and pulling.
“But a man coming up, a trained fighter with bare knuckles, hitting a guy who’s tired, who’s taken some rounds and taking some shots, there has to be ramifications for that. An example has to be made….It’s criminal. It’s assault.”