Khabib Nurmagomedov snapped following his win over Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 229 on Saturday, Oct. 6. Nurmagomedov jumped out of the cage and went directly for McGregor’s jiu jitsu coach and Bellator MMA fighter Dillon Danis with a flying kick off of the apron shortly after choking out the Irishman to retain his lightweight championship.
Nurmagomedov indicated that the reason he lost his cool was because of the laundry list of insults directed at him, his father, his faith, and his country leading up to the fight.
“This is not my best side. He talked about my religion, he talked about my country, he talked about my father,” Nurmagomedov said at the post-fight press conference. “He came to Brooklyn, he broke bus, and nearly killed two people. So why do people still talk about me jumping over the cage? I have shown respect.”
But now we know why Danis was a specific target after the UFC 229 bout.
According to TMZ Sports, a ringside witness says that the final straw for Nurmagomedov was when Danis uttered these three words: “f**king Muslim rat.”
Nurmagomedov is a proud Muslim and is very open about his faith. Previously, McGregor had taken some jabs at Nurmagomedov’s religion and dating back to a few years ago McGregor head coach John Kavanaugh even mocked Nurmagomedov for not taking a fight during Ramadan. Hearing those words from someone you already had bad blood with explains a lot about why Nurmagomedov would take actions that seem out of his normal character.
However, while TMZ reports that Danis said those words, Kavanaugh claims Danis never said a word.
“He actually didn’t say anything. Now I was standing beside Dillon, I didn’t see what he did but I could hear. So he didn’t say anything. Now when I watched it back I’ve seen he kind of beckoned him on, you know, just stupid end-of-fight stuff. But I don’t think it justified that level of response,” Kavanaugh said, via the New York Post.
“Now maybe, there was something else in the lead-up. Dillon is a bit of a troll online, so there’s probably a build-up of other stuff. Like I said, it wasn’t that big of a deal to me, what Khabib did, it just really wasn’t.”
Whatever led to the melee, it was an ugly scene that took away from an otherwise incredible event. And despite any justification from either side of the battle, both men find themselves with complaints from the Nevada State Athletic Commission and must now wait for disciplinary hearings to learn whether they will be fined or suspended for their actions.