Commentator Reveals Conor McGregor Had Backstage Problem At UFC 229

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Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie for USA TODAY Sports

Conor McGregor’s long-awaited MMA return turned into a rude awakening at last weekend’s (Sat., October 6, 2018) UFC 229 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Facing rival Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event, the MMA star was dominated for the better part of four rounds before submitting to a neck crank. The post-fight brawl that followed quickly sucked up most of the publicity surrounding the UFC’s biggest fight.

Yet McGregor was more focused on his loss than the fight after the fight. Just as he did when he lost to Nate Diaz, he was campaigning for a rematch moments after he tapped out. Kudos to him for his fighting spirit, but it appeared he had little for ‘The Eagle’ on the night. And Khabib’s teammate recently claimed the Dagestani champion would want a record-setting payday to fight McGregor again. That could be due to the one-sided nature of the bout.

Rivalry Runs Deep

The rivalry was deep-seeded and personal. McGregor threw low blows at Khabib’s father and manager, in addition to his home. All of that came after he tried to injure him with the infamous dolly. It was so vitriolic McGregor apparently felt the need to apologize mid-fight, calling it ‘all business’ in the Octagon.

One person close to the situation believes something was suddenly off with McGregor on fight night. It could have been one of the reasons he didn’t put forth his normal effort. Of course, many seem to find themselves in the same spot when they fight the undefeated UFC lightweight champion.

But that man is Octagon commentator Jon Anik. He revealed on the Anik & Florian podcast that something was simply off with the Irishman:

“I thought Conor looked great all week. But all of a sudden on fight night, it seemed like his color was gone, his confidence didn’t seem there, the smile wasn’t there, there were maybe some rumblings about some things or some circumstances backstage but Khabib handled the fight part of this with flying colours and proved that he probably is the most dominant force in the game, as advertised.”

Conor Injured?

Anik apparently heard something about the former two-division champs status that few others were informed of. He was later asked by fans on Twitter to go into detail about what he heard. Anik said McGregor was not injured, just that it was especially crazy backstage. McGregor supposedly also had his hands wrapped by someone he wasn’t used to:

Another fan referred to a story involving an alleged gunman threatening McGregor’s life. Anik again said this wasn’t the issue and re-told what he had revealed to the first fan:

Anik’s assessment of the situation seemed cryptic at best. Perhaps McGregor was taken out of focus by all of the chaos in his locker room. And maybe having someone unfamiliar to him wrap his hands wasn’t his ideal request.

But to say that actually took his confidence away and removed the color from his face is somewhat laughable. After all, McGregor has made his biggest paydays under the brightest lights, and while he may not have won each of those battles, he still lives for moments like that.

Some people going in and out of his locker room and a different hand-wrapper are small details that probably shouldn’t even be brought up, let alone discussed in the context of why he lost to Khabib. What do you think?