- Conor McGregor‘s behaviour before UFC 229 was “embarrassing,” according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
- The NSAC slapped McGregor with a six-month backdated ban from fighting, as well as a $US50,000 fine for the role he played in the post-fight riots that marred the UFC 229 event on October 6.
- But the NSAC also issued a warning that McGregor’s aggressive trash-talk may not be tolerated in the near future.
- The fight regulator says it is considering issuing fines and suspensions for “unacceptable” language in the build-up to future events.
- McGregor is free to fight once his ban expires on April 6, so only time will tell whether he takes heed of the NSAC’s warning.
Conor McGregor‘s “embarrassing” behaviour toward Khabib Nurmagomedov in the build-up to the UFC 229 event means trash-talk may have to be policed, according to fight regulators in the United States.
Before the October 6 bout, McGregor called Nurmagomedov a “smelly Dagestani rat,” said his manager Ali Abdelaziz was a “snitch terrorist,” and accused the fighter’s father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov of being a “quivering coward.”
McGregor famously lost to Nurmagomedov, submitting to a tight neck crank in the fourth round of a wild fight. But rather than celebrate, Nurmagomedov jumped the fence and seemingly charged at McGregor’s cageside friend Dillon Danis. Members of Nurmagomedov’s team then invaded the cage itself and fought with McGregor.
McGregor got slapped with a $US50,000 fine and a six-month ban backdated to October at a Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing on Tuesday, where Nurmagomedov was hit with a much heftier $US500,000 fine and a nine-month ban that could be reduced to six should he create an anti-bullying public service announcement.
Though Nurmagomedov was given the bigger punishment, the commission had choice words for McGregor. According to ESPN journalist Ariel Helwani, they were not happy with the dialogue from McGregor leading up to the fight. Helwani said that the commission’s chairman Anthony Marnell even called McGregor’s behaviour “embarassing.”
The commission is saying they need to take an active role in holding fighters accountable for their language and conduct at press conferences. They don’t seem happy with the dialogue from McGregor leading up to the fight. Chairman Marnell called it “embarrassing."
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 29, 2019
Marnell elaborated when he spoke to MMAJunkie.com after the hearing. He implied that trash-talk has gone beyond the realms of something harmless, and into something toxic, and warned that regulation change may be afoot.
“I don’t agree with it, and I certainly don’t like it, the language that is used and is continuing to escalate year in and year out,” he said. “It would break a lot of precedents and without notice that we’re going to start fining and/or suspending for what you say versus what you do.”
He added: “Verbal antagonization has got to get itself back in check. We can’t cross lines into family and race. It’s not what the sports about. 90% of these fighters are some of the most ethical and nice, humble people ever. And I’m not saying Conor’s not. But I think he amps these things up. It’s the show. I look at it and think it’s fake. It’s all promotion and they’re pushing it too far.”
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) January 30, 2019
Nevada commission executive director Bob Bennett agreed with Marnell that trash-talk amongst some “unarmed combatants” has gotten to the point “where it’s become totally unacceptable.”
“There’s not any other athletes, that I’m aware of, that have spoken in various press conferences the way Mr. McGregor has,”he told MMAJunkie.com. “I definitely think, unequivocally, that’s something we need to take a more active role in and take an active role in for their language.”
McGregor can return to the sport after his suspension expires on April 6. It is becoming increasingly likely that his opponent could be Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, but only time will tell if he takes heed of the commission’s warnings regarding pre-fight behaviour.
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