October 07, 2018
Nurmagomedov submits McGregor by rear-naked choke
Unbeaten Russian then climbs into crowd and sparks brawl
Khabib Nurmagomedov taps out Conor McGregor then sparks melee in crowd
Khabib Nurmagomedov finally sunk in the rear-naked choke, and almost immediately, Conor McGregor’s right hand struck his left shoulder, a signal of submission, and the proverbial white flag in a war of attrition.
It was the shining moment of the Russian’s career. But then, in an act of spontaneous stupidity, the moment was ruined.
Nurmagomedov apparently wasn’t satisfied to simply prove he was the superior fighter in the octagon Saturday night at UFC 229. No, for Khabib, the fourth-round finish that should have been the culmination of months of vitriolic barbs between both camps wasn’t enough to conclude the feud.
The lightweight champion insisted Thursday that he wouldn’t shake McGregor’s hands even after the fight. The words clearly weren’t your usual pre-fight fare meant to sell tickets.
In a wild, surreal scene at T-Mobile Arena, Nurmagomedov hurled himself over the top of the cage, onto the floor, and exchanged punches with members of the Irishman’s team. Soon after, the fracas spilled inside the confines of the octagon. A training partner of Nurmagomedov’s jumped over the fence and sucker punched McGregor from behind as all hell broke loose.
Organizers attempted to restore order, with UFC president Dana White frantically pleading for sanity to prevail. And when Bruce Buffer finally announced the official result – a submission victory for Nurgmagomedov at 3:03 of round four – neither fighter was present in the octagon; both had long since been scurried out by security.
There was no belt presentation, either. All that remained in the aftermath were questions regarding Nurmagmedov’s future as he figures to be heavily disciplined by the Nevada athletic commission, if not outright arrested for his actions. The Nevada commission is withholding Khabib’s purse, White told reporters; McGregor was handed his paycheck.
It was McGregor, then, who emerged on top when the dust settled. Defeated in a championship fight one second, defenseless victim the next.
That McGregor (21-4) made it to the fourth round at all was a feat in and of itself. After a measured opening frame where neither man inflicted any shots of consequence, round two was a different tale.
A looping Khabib right hand found its mark at the onset of the frame, and McGregor wobbled backward. Nurmagomedov, 30, grappled McGregor against the cage – just like the previous round – but this time, he was able to finally inflict the punishment he so desperately sought. McGregor laid flat on his back as Nurmagomedov (27-0) rained punches down from the standing position.
Referee Herb Dean inched closer to the action, seemingly so he was in position to halt the 155lb title fight at any moment. McGregor, though, absorbed the pummeling from above and with 46 seconds remaining in the round, he finally made it to his feet.
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