- Khabib Nurmagomedov said Vladimir Putin called to congratulate him after beating UFC 229 opponent Conor McGregor on October 6 in Las Vegas.
- But Nurmagomedov’s victory was marred when he jumped over the octagon fence and reportedly charged at one of McGregor’s cageside friends.
- Wild scenes ensued when brawls broke out at cageside, and in the cage itself.
- Russia president Vladimir Putin is “very proud” of Nurmagomedov, the fighter says.
- Read all of Business Insider’s UFC 229 coverage here.
Khabib Nurmagomedov said Russian president Vladimir Putin personally called him to offer his congratulations after he submitted Conor McGregor in the fourth round of a thrilling fight at UFC 229 on October 6.
The 30-year-old wrestler, now unbeaten in 27 bouts, dominated McGregor. But even after he forced the Irishman to tap because of a tight neck crank, Nurmagomedov jumped the octagon fence and reportedly attacked one of McGregor’s cageside friends, Dillon Danis, according to ESPN journalist Chamatkar Sandhu. The incident led to wild scenes as brawls broke out in the stands, and in the cage itself.
UFC boss Dana White refused to give Nurmagomedov his UFC lightweight world championship belt in the octagon itself as he feared what the angry crowd would do, so the Russian left the arena surrounded by security and members of the Las Vegas metropolitan police department.
When Nurmagomedov addressed the media at the official UFC 229 press conference, he said Putin was “very proud” of him.
Nurmagomedov, refusing to directly answer any questions, said: “‘Sup guys, how are you? First of all, I want to say sorry to Athletic Commission in Nevada and to Vegas. This is not my best side. I am a human being.”
He then explained the chain of events that led to UFC 229, which included McGregor’s attack on a UFC team bus that Nurmagomedov himself was on, and about McGregor’s antics in the build-up to UFC 229 itself.
“I can’t understand how people talk about how I jump on the cage,” Nurmagomedov said. “What about he talk about my religion, my country, my father. He come to Brooklyn and he broke bus and he almost kill a couple people. What about his s—? Why talk about I jump on the cage. I don’t understand.
“My father teach me, ‘Hey, always be respectful.’ Everybody know who I am. Everybody who know me.”
In the fight, Nurmagomedov frequently forced McGregor out of his comfort zone, onto the mat, and used his strength and wrestling skills to grind out the victory.
That victory arrived in the fourth round, when referee Herb Dean had to pry Nurmagomedov’s tight grip off of McGregor’s neck. McGregor tapped, and the fight was over. Nurmagomedov won.
“I told you, these guys, not only him, his whole team and him, they tap machines,” he said. “When you put him wrong way, he gonna tap. Today, he tap.”
Nurmagomedov then said he wants to change the game. He said he opposes the trash-talking element that is associated with combat sports, and says people “cannot talk” about religion and nationality.
“This is respect sport, not a trash-talking sport. I want to change the game. People talk shit about opponents, father, religion. You cannot talk about religion, nation. You cannot talk about this stuff. For me, this is very important.”
He then left the conference without answering a question, but not before acknowledging he may take a beating from his father, “I know my father going to smash me.”
He then said Putin had called. “Putin just called me to say he is very proud of me, I win, and he says congratulation.”
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