UFC 229: McGregor loss to Nurmagomedov ends with ugly fight outside cage

The long-awaited match between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov brings chaos inside and outside the octagon. Even Mike Tyson calls the night "crazy."

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
3 min read

Things didn't end after Khabib Nurmagomedov tapped out Conor McGregor Saturday night at UFC 229's main event in Las Vegas. If anything, they just got crazier.

After Nurmagomedov won, a new fight began, and violence spilled out into the crowd.

Khabib's team appeared to have started the insanity, CNET sister site CBS Sports reported. "The melee quickly spilled out into the ringside area as police restrained a number of fans who jumped the barricade. Nurmagomedov got into a shouting match with UFC president Dana White during the altercation inside the cage."

Nurmagomedov had entered the fight undefeated (26-0) and as the odds-on favorite. The 30-year-old Russian, the reigning UFC lightweight champion, is a wrestler and has a black belt in judo.

Ireland's McGregor, also 30, is a former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion. Where McGregor (21-3 entering the fight) is a striker, Nurmagomedov is a grappler.

CBS called the postfight scene "one of the ugliest in UFC's history." Fans had plenty of other things to call it.

Many fans remembered an April event in which McGregor showed up unannounced at UFC 223 in Brooklyn, and attacked a van filled with UFC fighters, including Nurmagomedov. Some on social media connected the two events, and others said they couldn't possibly compare. 

Some were angry at McGregor for insulting remarks he made about his opponent's father and other comments he made about Nurmagomedov's manager. And several pointed out that UFC is raking in big money regardless.

UFC President Dana White later announced that McGregor refused to press charges against three people who were detained by police after the incident. White said he believed, but wasn't sure, that the three were members of Nurmagomedov's team.

White also said that Nurmagomedov's $2 million purse was being withheld by the Nevada State Athletic Commission but McGregor's was not.

How McGregor vs Nurmagomedov went down

The fight itself played out as many had predicted. Most pundits expected either a quick knockout for McGregor or a drawn-out beating from Nurmagomedov. Outside of round three (which McGregor won on all judges' scorecards), it was domination on the ground by Nurmagomedov, who eventually subdued McGregor via rear-neck choke.

After Nurmagomedov won the fight and leaped over the cage to attack McGregor's jiujitsu coach Dillon Danis, McGregor was attacked from behind in the cage by two more members of Nurmagomedov's team. 

When Nurmagomedov returned to the cage, White, the UFC president, refused to put the belt around his waist, afraid the crowd would start throwing objects into the cage. After being calmed down, Nurmagomedov was escorted backstage.

Daniel Cormier, Nurmagomedov's training partner and current light-heavyweight and heavyweight champion, was one of the people helping calm him down. He blamed the fight promotion and cultural differences. Before the fight, McGregor had criticized Nurmagomedov's family and called his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, a "snitch, terrorist rat."

Josh Thompson, a former UFC fighter who also trains alongside Nurmagomedov, pointed to earlier trash-talking by McGregor ahead of the fight.

When Mike Tyson calls the night "crazy," you know it was crazy.

In a press conference after the melee, Nurmagomedov apologized to the city, state and athletic commission, saying, "This is not my best side."

At press time, there was no word on whether Nurmagomedov would be suspended, stripped of his title or otherwise penalized.

McGregor, for his part, broke his silence to ask for a rematch.

First published Oct. 6 at 8:30 p.m. PT. 
Update Oct. 7 at 12:47 a.m. PT: Added comments from Khabib Nurmagomedov's teammates.
Update at 2:24 a.m. PT: Added tweet from Conor McGregor.