Melee breaks out af­ter Khabib vic­tory

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McGre­gor tapped out in the fourth round of his comeback fight at UFC 229 against Khabib Nur­magome­dov, who then climbed over the cage and set off a brawl by scuf­fling with an­other fighter in McGre­gor’s cor­ner on Satur­day night.

The wild scene oc­curred af­ter McGre­gor (21-4) got caught in a choke by Nur­magome­dov (27-0), who de­fended his light­weight belt with an im­pres­sive vic­tory over the su­per­star who in­fa­mously at­tacked a bus car­ry­ing Nur­magome­dov in Brook­lyn last April.

But the Rus­sian cham­pion then ex­ac­er­bated sev­eral months of hos­til­i­ties be­tween the fight­ers’ camps. Nur­magome­dov stepped away from the prone McGre­gor and im­me­di­ately pointed at the Ir­ish­man’s cor­ner, shout­ing and throw­ing his mouth­piece.

The men in McGre­gor’s cor­ner ap­peared to re­spond with taunts, and Nur­magome­dov climbed over the fence and fought with Dil­lon Da­nis, a Bel­la­tor wel­ter­weight who trains with McGre­gor. Mean­while, two men en­tered the cage and suck­er­punched McGre­gor, who de­fended him­self be­fore se­cu­rity per­son­nel sep­a­rated ev­ery­one.

Nur­magome­dov and McGre­gor both left the ring be­fore the cham­pi­onship belt could be put

around Nur­magome­dov’s waist. UFC Pres­i­dent Dana White said he feared a melee in an arena dom­i­nated by fans of McGre­gor.

Be­fore the post-fight mad­ness, Nur­magome­dov firmly as­serted his grap­pling dom­i­nance over McGre­gor’s strik­ing skill in the Ir­ish su­per­star’s first MMA bout in 23 months. McGre­gor hadn’t been in a fight since los­ing his box­ing match with Floyd May­weather last year, and Nur­magome­dov proved an in­sur­mount­ably tough op­po­nent for his comeback.

The main event has been ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated across the sport ever since McGre­gor threw a hand truck at a bus con­tain­ing Nur­magome­dov be­fore a UFC show in Brook­lyn last spring. McGre­gor was fu­ri­ous about a con­fronta­tion be­tween Nur­magome­dov and a mem­ber of McGre­gor’s team ear­lier in the week.

McGre­gor was ar­rested af­ter se­ri­ously hurt­ing two other fight­ers with bro­ken glass from the at­tack, but Nur­magome­dov shrugged it off and won the light­weight ti­tle by beat­ing Al Iaquinta. When McGre­gor agreed to re­turn to the UFC, he ea­gerly ac­cepted Nur­magome­dov as his op­po­nent.

Nur­magome­dov and McGre­gor made no se­cret of their mu­tual loathing in the past few months, and the UFC used footage of McGre­gor’s at­tack on the bus to pro­mote UFC 229, which could be the best-sell­ing payper-view card in UFC his­tory.

McGre­gor’s dis­like for Nur­magome­dov likely fu­eled his de­ci­sion to take a fight that cre­ated a dif­fi­cult stylis­tic matchup for him. McGre­gor’s strength is his strik­ing, while Nur­magome­dov is one of the most dom­i­nant grap­plers in UFC his­tory. (AP)


GOTCHA. Khabib Nur­mago-medov tags Conor McGre­gor with a left dur­ing their light­weight match in UFC 229.

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