UFC 229 was always going to be a night to remember but many people will remember the fight for what happened after it rather than during it. With so many people left asking “Why?” it shows there’s a serious misunderstanding in UFC towards its attitude towards Conor McGregor’s racism. What drives an always calm fighter to lash out? Why did Khabib, who always keeps his focus, go against his own self to lash back?
For anyone who may have been living under a rock, lets update you. Saturday night was UFC’s Mixed Martial Arts fight-night with one of the biggest fights in MMA history being the main event. The notorious and former champion Conor McGregor Vs the Russian undefeated lightweight Champion of the world Khabib Nurmagomedov. The fight ended in a spectacular way with Conor tapping out in the fourth round after a rear-naked choke. While many thought that was the end of the fight, the usually calm Khabib jumped out of the Octagon in to Conor’s team landing a few punches. Conor attacked Khabib’s brother in the Octagon which lead to a scuffle between them and Khabibs team.
It wasn’t long before there was widespread condemnation of Khabib’s actions and people started wondering why he lost his cool. To look at that we need to look at the whole picture and what was happening before the fight.
History is Vital
Before the fight Conor McGregor had thrown lots of abuse at Khabib and his camp. He called Khabib a terrorist because he is Muslim, he attacked his religion calling it “backwards” when Khabib didn’t drink whisky, he mocked his brother’s son and he made derogatory remarks about Khabibs wife and father. Even before the fight was arranged Conor McGregor and his entire team attacked a bus which was transporting Khabib and other UFC fighters causing one fighter to nearly lose his eye.
All of this was allowed by the UFC because they see it as “pre-fight banter”. The UFC under Dana White has a history of never punishing Conor McGregor. The Conor bus attack nor his insults before the fight were kept in check nor did they see consequence. This is usually because this builds publicity around the event and sells more pay-per-views.
This isn’t new behaviour from Conor, his taunts however have never been regulated. When Conor fought the Brazilian fighter Aldo he went to incredible heights of racism saying that he would, in different times, “invade his favela on horseback and would kill anyone who wasn’t fit to work”. When he fought Diaz he through a glass bottle at him. Before McGregor’s fight against Mayweather he was accused by Mayweather of racism. He called the black team members of Mayweather’s camp “monkeys” and then asked Mayweather to “dance for me” hinting at black slave history.
But did this stop the UFC from promoting him or did the UFC condemn him? Once again, no and never.
Dana what are you doing?
With his unchecked racism he entered the competition against Khabib with racial slurs and Islamophobic remarks, worst of all calling Khabib a terrorist and backwards for following his religion. This was a step too far as he wasn’t just taunting, he was getting personal and attacking his honour.
Khabib remained calm before the fight but after illegal manouvers which went unchecked during the fight, Khabib lost it and started a post-fight brawl. It left fans bewildered as to why Khabib would risk his titles, his fight money, reputation and even his visa just for getting at Conor and his team.
For Khabib, though, honour matters more than money, fame, titles and visas. Just like many Muslims, our religion is more important than anything else. So when Conor was attacking his religion along with his wife, father, brother, nephew and culture, it should have been checked. Just like his racist comments against Aldo and Mayweather should have been checked.
There seems to be only one cause to the UFC racism problem, and that is UFC President Dana White’s love affair with Conor McGregor. Its obvious he brings in sales but Dana should have stepped in and contained the foul mouthing and racist attacks. Once again Dana White let Conor get away with everything only to sit in the post-fight press conference wondering what had gone wrong.
Well simply put Dana’s blindness to Conor has gotten him into this mess. He allowed racism, thuggery and Islamophobia. Now the time has come for the UFC is to reflect instead of throwing blame on Khabib and his team.
Khabib has stated in his post fight interview that he apologises for his behaviour and said that comments regarding his father, country and religion can’t go unchecked. He says he wants to change UFC so personal attacks are not made.
Is it time that the UFC made the fight about the fight not about how many pay-per-view viewings come through due to pre-fight hype build up. What are your thoughts on the fight and on UFC and Dana White? Let me know below.