There was something in the air in Las Vegas...
Much has been made of the UFC 229 post-fight fracas initiated by Khabib Nurmagomedov at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last night. Fans are shocked. Outraged. Emotions are high. There are calls to strip the undefeated Dagestani of his lightweight title and suspend him from the promotion. This article is not going to argue for or against any of those talking points, but to state that things played out on Saturday night exactly as they should have. That was always the way it was going to be - “perfectly balanced, as all things should be.”
Conor McGregor, who finally met his match — or rather, his superior — at UFC 229, had been accumulating a heavy karmic debt in the years leading up to his highly anticipated lightweight title bout with Nurmagomedov. And make no mistake about it, this pinnacle event was years in the making; both men were simply destined to collide in the prime of their careers.
From hooliganism in Brooklyn, New York, to scuffles with referees, abhorrent mink coats and a barrage of overly-personal insults, ‘The Notorious’ one had set off a chain of irreversible effects that led to his epic beatdown and humiliation on Saturday night - and he was powerless to stop it.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re Conor McGregor, Muhammad Ali, Anderson Silva, or Tony Montana, everyone pays their debts. Actions have consequences. That is why it is always wise to exercise vigilance in one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions, otherwise, face the risk of being crushed under the weight of our self-imposed burdens.
Adrenaline is a hell of a drug
Khabib, who extended his unbeaten record to a perfect 27-0 against Conor McGregor, did exactly what he said he was going to: he ‘smashed’ his bitter rival and made him tap out.
‘The Eagle’ had his way with Conor from the opening bell and eventually locked up a grimacing neck crank in the fourth round, forcing the former two-division champion to tap. After ‘smashing’ the Dubliner for the better part of four rounds, Nurmagomedov taunted the Irishman and then hopped the cage and charged relentlessly at McGregor teammate Dillon Danis, who was reportedly lobbing insults at Khabib from ringside.
All hell really did break loose: Khabib got into a scrap with Danis, which triggered an all-out brawl inside the Octagon. McGregor was sucker-punched by a group of Khabib’s teammates, and several bystanders were caught in the middle of the action. Bruce Buffer was visibly shaken by the ordeal. Dana White, too. American Kickboxing Academy teammates Daniel Cormier and Luke Rockhold tried to defuse the situation, but the damage had already been done. It was carnage.
Khabib, high on a chemical cocktail of adrenaline, testosterone, and emotion, was so infuriated and enraged by McGregor that beating the Irishman to a pulp and retaining his lightweight title wasn’t enough. He didn’t just want to beat McGregor; he wanted to humiliate him. McGregor has made a career out of humiliating many of his opponents inside and outside of the Octagon, and the SBG Ireland talent got a stiff taste of his own medicine on October 6.
That is not to say Khabib was in the ‘right’ or that his actions should be excused, just that his actions should have been expected. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Conor McGregor acted, and Khabib Nurmagomedov reacted. There is only so much punishment and humiliation one can dish out before it inevitably rebounds back to the instigator and teaches the necessary life lessons needed for growth.
Both fighters have a lot to learn from this, and I suspect a few stiff shots of Proper No. 12 Irish whiskey will be in order for one man in particular.