Khabib’s reaction to McGregor’s racism, thuggish behaviour, insults towards his family and faith should be scrutinised. But in America, only the Muslim can be judged.
In absolutely sensational scenes just hours ago, Dagestani grappler and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his title in a ferociously dominant display against his toughest and most controversial opponent yet, Irish superstar Conor McGregor.
This fight was the biggest in the history of the sport, billed as a clash of fighting styles which also subsequently developed into a clash of personalities and culture, with McGregor’s flamboyant, drink-fuelled Western persona colliding with Nurmagomedov’s icy calm and conservative Muslim demeanour.
The Dagestani champion mauled the brash former “champ champ” – as McGregor calls himself – taking down the Irishman repeatedly, subjecting him to an absolute skull-shattering ground-and-pound that lasted for an excruciating two minutes, before using his terrifying wrestling skills to neutralise McGregor on the ground with a rear naked choke turned neck crank. As Khabib warned before the fight, it was certainly a long night for Conor.
However, controversy struck immediately after the bout, with McGregor’s training partner Dillon Danis being described by veteran UFC commentator and comedian Joe Rogan as having hurled abuse at the reigning champion.
Khabib, renowned for his composure, shocked the world by vaulting the octagon and getting into a fistfight with Danis before being pulled away by security. Conor, who was still recovering from his ordeal at the hands of Khabib, was inside the cage at this point when he threw the first punch at Khabi’sentourage and was duly punched back by another Dagestani.
Both fighters had to eventually be escorted out of the building, with promotor Dana White refusing to gird the champion’s belt around Khabib’s waist for fear of inflaming tensions.
Compare and contrast Dana White’s response to Conor’s savage attack on the UFC bus in April with Khabib’s outburst last night.