Post-fight craziness overshadows record-setting UFC 229

Saturday night was shaping up to be what Dana White dreamed about when he took over as UFC president nearly two decades ago.

Yet he was in no mood to celebrate after an ugly brawl marred the conclusion of UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena.

“The biggest night ever and I couldn’t be more disappointed,” White said in the early hours of Sunday morning after an event that brought an announced crowd of 20,034 to T-Mobile Arena, drew a live gate of $17.2 million from ticket sales and could set the organization’s record for pay-per-view buys.

“It’s unfortunate that the night that the most people are watching, this (expletive) show goes on.”

A long, nasty history between the camps of Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov and Irishman Conor McGregor boiled over into an all-out melee when Nurmagomedov jumped over the cage after submitting McGregor in the fourth round and attacked one of his training partners, who was screaming at Nurmagomedov.

Chaos reigned outside the cage with fans trying to push their way into the fracas. McGregor attempted to follow Nurmagomedov over the fence, only to be pulled back by security. As McGregor sat atop the cage, he appeared to strike one of Nurmagomedov’s teammates, setting off a separate skirmish that triggered another teammate of Nurmagomedov to hop the fence and sucker punch McGregor from behind.

One of the men appeared to be Zubaira Tukhugov, a UFC featherweight who is scheduled to fight McGregor’s friend and teammate Artem Lobov this month.

UFC officials who were contacted Sunday did not confirm Tukhugov’s involvement, but White said anybody under contract who participated in the melee other than McGregor and Nurmagomedov would not fight in the organization again.

Police handcuffed several people, and McGregor and Nurmagomedov were escorted from the cage before the official announcement was made declaring Nurmagomedov the winner.

Nevada Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett confirmed that the commission is looking into the brawl, which White ranked “No. 1, 2 and 3” among the worst fight-night situations he’s dealt with at the helm of the organization.

“We have a pending investigation to determine the facts of the altercation,” Bennett told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday.

Commission representatives initially withheld the checks of both fighters but released McGregor’s $3 million share of the purse upon a preliminary review of video evidence and a brief interview with McGregor.

Nurmagomedov will not receive his $2 million share, pending the outcome of the commission’s investigation in case substantial fines are levied against him.

“There’s going to be fines,” White said. “There’s going to be God knows what. Can these guys get visas to get back in the country?

“These guys are in big trouble. It’s going to be ugly.”

According to UFC officials, three members of Nurmagomedov’s team were detained by Metropolitan Police Department officers. A department spokesman later said no arrests had been made.

Metro officers were called to T-Mobile Arena about 10:20 p.m. Saturday for “unknown trouble” and again about 10:50 p.m. for an “assault/battery,” according to police event logs.

“As of now, there were no arrests related to the incident at the fight tonight,” Metro Lt. Jason Johansson said Sunday morning.

Johansson did not know whether anyone was seriously injured and was unable to provide further details.

Arena officials noted that order was restored without major injury.

“Arena security reacted quickly and in close coordination with Metro and UFC to resolve the situation,” read a statement from MGM Resorts that was provided to the Review-Journal.

One arena employee told the Review-Journal that several security staffers suffered minor injuries during the fracas, but MGM officials would not confirm that claim.

White said the organization was prepared for a potential situation after the history of bad blood between the fighters’ camps.

“Did you see how many police were here? I think every cop in town was here,” White said. “We had an unbelievable amount of security here, and we had meetings all throughout the week and even during the event about how to handle the (post-fight). We went above and beyond anything we’ve ever done in the history of the company tonight to make sure this didn’t happen. And it still happened. What are you going to do when a guy flies like a monkey over the freaking cage?

“Fortunately, they did a great job of containing that and stopping it.”

Nurmagomedov took just one question after remaining undefeated by dominating McGregor for four rounds .

He expressed dismay that the attention was on his actions instead of what escalated the rivalry.

“First of all, I want to say sorry to the Nevada (Athletic) Commission,” Nurmagomedov said during his three-minute news conference. “Sorry to Vegas. I know this is not my best side.

“I don’t understand how people can talk about (how) I jumped the cage, but what (about McGregor)? He talked about my religion, he talked about my country, he talked about my father.”

McGregor did not appear at the news conference but posted on Twitter and Instagram that he wants another shot at Nurmagomedov.

“Good knock,” he wrote on Twitter. “Looking forward to the rematch.”

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Review-Journal staff writers Gilbert Manzano and Kimber Laux contributed to this report. Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Covering The Cage Videos
UFC 236 Press Conference Highlights
UFC 236 will feature a pair of interim title fights. In the main event, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will face lightweight contender Dustin Poirier and middleweights Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum will collide in the co-main event. UFC 236 will take place in Atlanta, Ga., on Apr. 13.
Jon Jones retains light heavyweight belt at UFC 235 - VIDEO
Jon Jones retained the UFC light heavyweight belt when he earned a decision over Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC 235.
Kamaru Usman crowned new champ at UFC 235 — VIDEO
Kamaru Usman became the first African-born fighter to claim a UFC belt when he defeated Tyron Woodley to become the promotion's new welterweight champion.
UFC 235 Official Weigh-in Results - VIDEO
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 235 at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2 stepped on the scale prior for the official fight card weigh-ins. All four fighters competing in the title bouts slated for the event made weight.
UFC's Jones says he has no shame after recent drug test results are released - VIDEO
Though recent drug test results still show trace amounts of Turinabol in his system, UFC light heayvweight champion Jon Jones says he has no shame and is hiding nothing as he prepares for his UFC 235 title bout against Anthony Smith.
Anthony Smith stays level-headed prior to UFC 235 title fight - VIDEO
Despite UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones being in the spotlight for drug test discrepancies and other outside the cage struggles, Anthony Smith says he is tuning out the noise and remaining focused on the challenge of beating the reigning champion in the cage.
UFC 235 Media Day Highlights
Highlights and staredowns from the top three fights on the UFC 235 fight card taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2.
UFC 235 press conference highlights
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman have a heated exchange and Ben Askren enjoys his time on the stage by interacting with UFC president Dana White.
UFC president Dana White talks UFC 235 and more
UFC president Dana White joined Heidi Fang and Adam Hill to discuss the UFC 235 card set for Las Vegas on Mar. 2 at the T-Mobile Arena and also spoke on Colby Covington and Khabib Nurmagomedov's and Conor McGregor's disciplinary measures given by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Full version available on Facebook at Review-Journal Sports
Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman Have Heated Exchange At UFC 235 Presser - VIDEO
UFC 235 opened with Jon Jones returning after his meeting at the Nevada Athletic commission, Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman arguing on stage and Ben Askren making his UFC debut.
NAC Chairman says it's time to tone down MMA smack talk ahead of fights
After announcing the fines and suspensions given to Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov for their involvement in a melee at UFC 229 in Las Vegas, Nevada Athletic Commission Chairman Anthony Marnell said it may be time to address "mouthy fighters" smack talk and conduct leading up to a fight.
Jones, NAC Chairman issue statements following Jones' licensing approval for UFC 235
The Nevada Athletic Commission issued UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones a conditional one-fight license to compete at UFC 235 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on Mar. 2. Jones had to reapply for a license in Nevada after failing a drug test which led to UFC 232 being moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California.
UFC donates $240,000 to Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
UFC presents Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada with $240,000 donation and promises to grant more wishes as the partnership goes forward.
Benavidez on his new contract, future of the UFC flyweight division
UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez, who is booked to fight Dustin Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 143 on ESPN Plus, discusses his role as an alternate for the title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo, his new 4-fight contract and the future of the 125-pound division.
Covering the Cage: Jones, Nunes win at UFC 232
Amanda Nunes defeats Cyborg in the women's featherweight division and Jon Jones returns to UFC as the light heavyweight champion. Covering the Cage host Heidi Fang and Adam Hill recap the UFC 232 main and co main events.
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing