Chickens came home to roost at UFC 229

October 6, 2018

Tonight’s UFC 229 was marred by a melee after Khabib Nurmogomedov defeated Conor McGregor in the main event.  Khabib went after Conor’s corner, namely Dilon Danis, and chaos ensued.

A member of Khabib’s corner climbed the cage and took a shot at Conor.  During the post-fight show on  FS1 Dana White stated that 3 of Khabib’s cornermen were arrested.  At the post-fight press conference, White indicated that Conor did not want to press charges.  So they are likely to go free.  In all likelihood, Khabib will be facing a suspension and fine for his actions.  White also said that Conor McGregor was paid for tonight’s fight but the commission was withholding Khabib Nurmogomedov (per Brett Okamoto at ESPN).  Khabib was supposed to earn $2 million for his fight tonight.

This was my initial reaction and still maintain this feeling:

The UFC used the footage of McGregor hurling a dolly at the bus Khabib Nurmogomedov was on to promote this fight.  McGregor was arrested for the attack.

MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi asked White about this during the press conference lead-up.  White unequivocally stated that the bus attack at Barclay’s was part of the story.  While it may have been a part of the feud, it seemed questionable to use a criminal act to promote the fight.  The two men and their respective camps hated each other.

Moreover, McGregor’s antics and his personal attacks at Khabib fueled the fire between the two.  After Khabib defeated Conor, he spat on him and went right after his corner.  It was a great event that may have surpassed over 1 million PPV buys but how many of those casual viewers will return to see this chaos.

MMA will survive this incident as NBA survived Malice at the Palace but the promotion of the event seemed to cross the line between the two men.

The promoter decides on how to promote the fight.  White did not have to showcase the bus attack in the hype videos.  There was enough bad blood between the two men and camps to put together something fans would want to buy.

White expressed disgust by the act of Khabib the same way he did the day McGregor threw that dolly.  But, one has to assume that his dismay will be relieved once he sees the buy rate for this event.  The fact is he had the control to steer the promotion of the fight and could have done something.  While White had ordered extra security, they did not come through at the critical moment.

And while White’s concern about the aftermath of this debacle will be a headache, the remedy will be the fact that this feud is far from over.  Despite the stating the correct things by saying he didn’t want this to happen, monetizing tonight’s event will be easy for 2019.

But for now, the chickens have come home to roost for the UFC.

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