UFC superstar Conor McGregor took aim at current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at Thursday’s UFC 229 press conference in New York City, but during staredowns, McGregor got into a heated confrontation with Khabib’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz.
“Shut your mouth, Ali Abdelaziz,” McGregor said. “You terrorist snitch! I know a lot about you as well, you mad man. I know a lot about you as well! You keep your mouth shut kid! How’s Noah? How’s Noah? Yeah, shut your mouth! Never speak about me, ever in your life! Watch yourself around me, ‘cuz you’ll be out of here quick.”
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported that Abdelaziz questioned why McGregor had two UFC titles around his shoulders, which led to that targeted rant by the Irishman. It looks like this is what McGregor is referring to when bringing up Noah.
As for what could be behind the “terrorist snitch” remarks? Well it appears as if McGregor may be citing the book Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America. Included in the book, authors Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman delve into Abdelaziz’s past as an FBI informant, having been first recruited by the New York Police Department in 2002 while jailed on document forgery charges. The NYPD was in the middle of an investigation into extremist group Muslims of America in rural Virginia, and Abdelaziz was looked upon as an asset.
These three pages describe how Abdelaziz went from prized informant to accused double agent, and how the FBI and NYPD both eventually cut ties with him. (H/T John S. Nash)
Abdelaziz has become one of the most powerful managers in MMA. In addition to Nurmagomedov, he also manages UFC flyweight champ Henry Cejudo, former bantamweight titleholder Cody Garbrandt, and ex-lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor is set for October 6th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.