MCGRATH: Conor-Khabib feud has gotten out of hand but, in the end, business will win out

By David McGrath, MMATORCH contributor

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

Conor McGregor is not acting like a man who is retired. There are no pictures of him watering the grass or building model airplanes with his son. McGregor, the Irish megastar is not acting very retired at all. Ever since he was submitted in the fourth round by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, McGregor has been on fire. McGregor badly wants to run that fight back. Nurmagomedov has been mum on taking a rematch, and he should be. He won the fight convincingly. All that being said, McGregor’s current tweets are forcing the Dagestani lightweight’s hands. McGregor knows how to push Khabib’s buttons. He knows if he wants to cut to the heart of the man, he has to insult his faith and his family.

I am not going to rehash the tweets verbatim, because they’re offensive, but McGregor crossed a line that no man should cross. He insulted Khabib’s wife. Nurmagomedov fired back, called the Irish star a ”rapist” referencing the story that has come out recently that McGregor was questioned for sexual assault in his home country of Ireland. It was irresponsible of Khabib as well. How could you say that about a man with zero proof and just some internet scuttle to go on? Khabib and Conor’s feud has always been about more than MMA, but this is getting beyond even what Dana White’s promotional team could dream up. McGregor needs to peel back. I don’t think he understands that Khabib and Muslims all over the world do not engage in trash talk the way we do in the West. Their faith and their families honor is deadly serious business to them. Conor got a taste of that back in October, in the octagon. Khabib had the top position and smashed Conor with fists all the while saying ”Let’s talk now.”

McGregor was emasculated in that fight, as many are against the Dagestani. McGregor has been dying for that rematch for months, and this is his way to get it. Pushing Khabib with trash talk about his faith and family will do the trick. Dana White has issued a statement that he was reaching out to both camps to cool down the noise, that the trash talk has overstepped the bounds of typical fight business bravado. Deep down, Dana must love it. McGregor, who did 2.4 million pay-per-view buys in October and gave him his most successful number to date, is starting to blow up even bigger. When they fight again, it would likely break that record. Not that it matters to White, with the new ESPN deal, White does not need massive PPV buys anymore. ESPN is paying him like every event does 500,000 buys. A number that UFC struggled to get to with most of their cards. That aside, don’t you think ESPN said sure we will sign you, but we want a certain amount of Conor McGregor fights? I am sure they did. Do not buy the McGregor retirement talk. He is pulling a fit until he is given what he needs. I am quite sure Dana White will make whatever needs to happen, happen.


Have Conor and Khabib took it too far? Yes. I am put off by what both men have said. This is going in an ugly direction. UFC 229 was ugly, and it was not the end. Conor wants that rematch, and he has baited Khabib into it I believe. Conor wants to avenge the loss, and Khabib wants to smash this Man and shut him up once and for all. Dana White has been on board since day 1, I bet he would book the fight next for both Men. I would too. The iron is piping hot, and the UFC owes ESPN big fights. This rematch is going to happen. The mechanics of how it’s going to happen is going to be difficult. The venue is an important question. How much security is an important question? This is far beyond an MMA fight. It is a war of ideologies. Team vs. Team. Families’ honor is on the line. My thought is they should do the fight somewhere in the midwest and lumberjack the security around the octagon. What a sight that would be. What a moneymaker this rematch would be. Until then, both camps should just shut up. They are embarrassing themselves and making this fight about their insults and not their considerable skill. A blood war is ok, those fights sell no problem, just want to make sure any bleeding, is kept inside the confines of the octagon.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.