UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov says he’s sorry for the post-fight fracas following his UFC 229 victory over Conor McGregor on Saturday night.
“I want to say sorry to the athletic commission,” Nurmagomedov said at the UFC 229 post-fight news conference. “Sorry to Vegas. I know this is not my best side. This is not my best side. I am a human being.”
But the undefeated Dagestani also said he’s not sure what all the fuss is about.
Nurmagomedov started the near-riot at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas when he jumped out of the cage following his fourth-round submission win over McGregor in the evening’s main event, in order to start a fracas with McGregor’s teammate, Dillon Danis.
In the ensuing chaos, a teammate of Nurmagomedov jumped into the Octagon and punched McGregor.
Nurmagomedov, though, says that people should instead focus on the actions of McGregor and his cohorts back in April. In that incident, McGregor and a gang of friends flew from Ireland to Brooklyn to attack a van containing Nurmagomedov and several other fighters following a UFC 223 media day.
“I do not understand how people can talk about ‘I jumped from the cage.’” Nurmagomedov said. “Worry about, he talked about my religion, he talk about my country, he talk about my father, he come to Brooklyn and he broke bus, he almost killed a couple people. Worry about this. Worry about this sh*t. Why people talk about ‘I jump over the cage?’ Why people still talk about this? I don’t understand.”
Nurmagomedov was also clearly bothered by McGregor’s comments in hyping the fight, which cut personally. McGregor, among other things, insulted the champion’s father and questioned his ties to Russian oligarchs and Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov. The champion also hinted at a belief the media is to blame for the escalating emphasis on trash talk in the mixed martial arts world.
“I want to say something, you know, people little bit, not people, I think it is media, media change MMA,” Nurmagomedov said. “This is respect sport. This is not trash-talking sport. This is respect. I told you before, guys, I want to change this game. I don’t want people talk shit about, like, opponents, talk shit about his father, religion. You cannot talk about religion, you cannot talk about nation, guys, you cannot talk about this stuff. For me, this is very important.”
Nurmagomedov, who did not take questions from the media after making his statement, said Russian president Vladimir Putin called to congratulate him after the victory. He also said he called his shot on submitting McGregor.
“My father teach me, you have to be always respectful,” Nurmagomedov said. “My old team where I am staying in California for seven years, everybody know who I am. All my friends, everybody who know me, they know who I am, you know? I told you guys, not only him, his whole team, they’re tap machine. I told you guys. When you put him the wrong way he’s going to tap. What happened today? they call him two-time world champ in two weight classes. But today, he tap, and that’s why the belt is here, undisputed, undefeated UFC lightweight champion.”
The champ also posted to Instagram after the fight: