Nurmagomedov: UFC has to make McGregor humble a little bit
On November 10 at Bellator 187 in Dublin, Ireland, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor lost his damn mind. McGregor entered the cage after SBGi teammate Charlie Ward defeated John Redmond to celebrate. When referee Marc Goddard told McGregor he had to leave, Notorious got in his face. In the ensuing melee, the Redmond was knocked down as he tried to rise in a dazed state. Then McGregor was ushered out, only to try to vault the fence again, slapping Bellator staffer Mike Johnson in the face.
Video emerged of an exultant McGregor ranting about the incident shortly afterward, and the fighter posted an unfortunate message on his social network, that was taken down shortly afterward. He later offered an apology, that conspicuously left out Goddard.
And McGregor has a history with Goddard. At UFC Gdansk, McGregor was pacing cageside shouting instructions to teammate Artem Lobov to Andre Filli, and Goddard had to stop the action to tell the Irishman to simmer down. And McGegor vaulted the Octagon on TUF, tearing his trousers.
#1 contender Khabib Nurmagomedov appeared recently on the Talk and Talker podcast and conceded that he, too, had sometimes entered the cage to celebrate, but argued correctly that putting hands on officials was going way too far.
“My very good friend fought for a big organization in Europe at 57 kgs, 125,” began Nurmagomedov, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “When he win, I do same s***. I come inside and I hold him because I’m very happy. I’m jumping on the cage, I come inside. A lot of people come inside, my friends, my teammates, because we’re very happy but when referee tells me, ‘Hey, you guys have to go out,’ I don’t try to fight with him because I know referee is not professional fighter, he’s referee. I have to respect rules. But I go crazy a little bit after I understand, ‘Hey, this is not good. I have to stop this,’ and I try to tell my friends, my teammates that we have to go out.”
“One time, if you try with him it’s okay but you see these guys don’t want fight with you and he cannot fight with you. Why would you try more and more? I don’t understand this one. When you come to inside the cage because you’re very happy about your friend’s win, it’s okay but try to fight with referee, this is not good.”
“He does this all the time. In Ultimate Fighter show, in Bellator show, I don’t understand why he can do but other guys cannot do. Because he’s Conor McGregor? He cannot do this. The UFC has to make him humble a little bit because other guys say, ‘Oh, Conor do this? He can do this but why I not?’ This is why sometimes you have to follow rules when you’re a big name, because a lot of people are watching you.”
“Why he don’t slap me when we go very close like UFC 205? Because he understands I don’t stop. Maybe he slaps him because he understands he’s not fighter, he cannot give him back.
“I never slap somebody if this guy cannot fight with me. . . You cannot fight with me. I can kill you. I can punch you and I can take you down and smash your face. You have to stay relaxed. Sometimes you have to say this because you’re a professional athlete and you can kill people.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov fights Edson Barboza at UFC 219 on December 30 in Las Vegas, Nevada.