Dana discusses steps taken to try to prevent what happened
The marketing for the UFC 229 main event was ugly. The central symbol was Conor McGregor attacking a fighter bus with a dolly, which resulted in multiple injuries and nothing from the UFC but using the attack video in marketing. And every verbal attack by McGregor on Nurmagomedov's father, faith, and more was echoed endlessly. So it wasn't a shocker when a furiously adrenalized Nurmagomedov screamed at McGregor sprawled on the mat, and then vaulted the fence to confront a particularly egregious member of Conor's camp.
Then McGregor got into it with a member of Nurmagomedov's team, and another Russian vaulted into the Octagon and sucker punched McGregor from behind.
At the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White detailed what steps had been taken to prevent a blow up between the Irish and Russian camps, and how it could have been worse.
“We had meetings with both teams before ... during the [Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes] fight,” said White, as transcribed by Jose Youngs for MMA Fighting. “We did another meeting with them on what’s going to happen. I was going in the Octagon and nobody else until I felt like we had control and I would determine who could come in and who couldn’t. Everybody signed off and everybody was cool.
“Nobody saw Khabib diving over there. You know he scaled that thing like he was a parkour guy. It happened so fast. The police did what they could do and the security did a great job of containing it.”
“The guys who jumped in will never fight here. They’ll never fight here. I’ve been working hard for 18 years to build this sport. When you have such an amazing event that we’ve worked hard to build over the last several months and it goes perfect, I mean literally it was too eerie. I kept saying this is too crazy man. Everybody made weight, everything was so smooth. Security took all the right precautions. Those of you that have been to many events, you’ve never seen this many metro police officers in the building. Security was unbelievable.”
“Listen, I was at the Tyson-Holyfield fight when that thing was crazy. It just spilled out into the crowd then it spilled out into the casino and it just seemed like it wouldn’t stop. When it started that’s all I had visions of that because I was there it was f***ing scary. [Security] did a great job of containing it because usually that stuff spreads like a wildfire. So, props to them and thanks to them.”
Thanks to security, for sure. But no thanks to the fans who thrive on extreme trash talk, and a league that wholly embraces it.