ROUNDTABLE: Is Khabib vs. Conor II an irresponsible fight to make?

By MMATorch Staff

Oct 6, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov (red gloves) fights Conor McGregor (blue gloves) during UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

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Is a Khabib vs. Conor rematch a responsible move for UFC to make? Is it the right business move?

Frank Hyden, MMATorch Contributor

Well, I don’t think responsible will be a factor into whether that fight is made or not. The only question the UFC cares about is if it’ll make money? When the sales of UFC 229 come in and they compare them to other recent buyrates, responsible won’t even be in the meeting. All they’ll see is dollar signs. Now, there are major problems standing in the way, though. It’s not like the fight itself was controversial, Khabib pretty well handled Conor. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. That lowers the appeal of McGregor, who made his name off of being brash and loud. His loss to Nate Diaz wasn’t as damaging because, for one, it was his first high profile defeat, but also because you knew that when they rematched that Diaz would stand and trade with McGregor. Khabib could do that, but it makes more sense for him to take him down and beat the hell out of him.

I think it makes more sense for the UFC to book Khabib vs. Tony Ferguson and McGregor vs. anyone. Nate Diaz is free, so maybe they go that route? I wouldn’t do an immediate rematch, though. There just wouldn’t be the interest level equal to their first fight. However, if McGregor were to go out and get an explosive victory, that brings back a little of that heat. It makes more sense to wait and let the fight build itself back up, if it does at all.

Cole Henry, MMATorch Contributor

I think sometimes we get lost in the fact that what we love is a sport that involves two people punching each other in the face. I love the respect that is often shown between two fighters but I also don’t think it’s a bad thing when two guys hate each other. Of course, the 229 brawl was a bad look for the sport but I don’t think anything that’s happened should prevent a rematch between these two fighters. Heighten the security, put a roof on the cage, ban all guests from ring side, do what you need to do – but this rematch is something that must happen if the two fighters are interested in a rematch.  In terms of it being the right business move I would say that it is as long as the UFC can assure the safety of everybody involved. It would be a big money fight and would make for a great main event in Cowboys stadium which seems to be something that McGregor is interested in. Of course, if something terrible happens the UFC will look awful but it’s a risk that I think is worth taking.

David McGrath, MMATorch Contributor

Khabib vs Conor is definitely the right business move, the casual fan knows what happened at 229. The world is buzzing about it. I would expect the rematch to maybe even break 3 million pay-per-view buys. The only way I see it happening is if Khabib gets stripped and Conor somehow gets ahold of the lightweight title. Khabib doesn’t care about money. He’s dominated Conor in the cage, there’s nothing to prove in a rematch unless of course, he’s trying to regain his lightweight championship. Fiscally, it’s responsible to make this rematch, I would be careful about where the fight takes place, Vegas may not be an option. I doubt they would do it internationally, maybe the west coast? Somewhere like the Staples center sounds intriguing. And ban Dillon Danis and Khabib’s teammates from ringside for sure. Beef up security and I think it would add to the drama and make sure the fight goes off with no issues.

Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch Managing Editor

I don’t know that it’s responsible for UFC to make this fight anytime soon. The bad blood between these two and their respective entourages is too real. Things escalated very quickly at UFC 229 and the promotion is lucky that everyone walked away unharmed from the fracas. The Nevada commission still has to hand down punishments. If a lengthy suspension is given, I’d be OK if UFC went with an immediate rematch. As things stand today, it would be irresponsible of UFC to book the rematch due to the risk of UFC 229 repeating itself.

Is it the right business move? Of course it is. I think Khabib has supplanted Nate Diaz as Conor McGregor’s top drawing potential opponent. A rematch would likely do another record setting number, and of course UFC would use the brawl to promote the fight. Conor McGregor was talking about a show at Cowboy Stadium this past weekend. If there’s a fight that can fill that house, this might be it.


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