On 7th October 2018, when Khabib Nurmagomedov forced Conor McGregor, the biggest name in the UFC business, to tap out with the good old rear naked choke, the T-Mobile arena, Las Vegas Valley erupted in surprise more than anything else.
Last year, the MMA world witnessed Grade-A bullying at the hands of the Irish UFC megastar who had been verbally abusing and physically assaulting the Russian for the past nine months. McGregor, infamously known as the 'notorious one' had attacked Nurmagomedov's bus, injuring two fighters from his team, called his father “a quivering coward” and labelled his manager Ali Abdelaziz, a “terrorist.”
To commend McGregor's audacity (not really), he also offered Khabib, a devout Muslim who has refused to drink time and again, a shot of his Proper No. 12 Irish whisky at a press conference just days before the record-smashing bout took place in LA.
So, when the UFC referee lifted Khabib's hand after he squeezed the breath out of McGregor's lungs, forcing him into submission, it was the ideal response anyone in the world could have thought of. However, as fate had it, the Russian MMA fighter's five-minute glory was overshadowed by dark clouds as the Lightweight champion leapt over the octagonal fence and started throwing punches at McGregor's entourage, while two of his teammates began assaulting the Irishman inside the ring.
After the Nevada police force escorted the two out-of-control maniacs to restore decorum in the stadium, UFC President Dana White expressed: “These guys are in big trouble,” and that it was going to be a bumpy ride for both the fighters in the coming days (focus on 'both').
But this is not a fair world we live in and it works according to those who make big bucks. Just after the whole incident took place, Nurmagomedov's contending fee worth $US 2 Million was withheld by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) while McGregor's money was untouched, as the authorities saw no fault of McGregor's during the UFC 229 debacle.
Three months later, a five-member committee under NAC has come to a decision regarding Nurmagomedov's final punishment, in the form of a nine-month suspension from the octagon and a super-hefty fine worth half a million USD.
What's a lot more amusing, rather humorous, is the irony highlighting the verdict according to which Nurmagomedov's ban could be reduced by three months, if the Russian decides to attend an anti-bullying public service announcement, approved by the committee.
Khabib, who has found his cool in the months since the incident responded to the verdict with a simple yet effective tweet:
politics forever— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 29, 2019
On the other hand, UFC's golden boy and perpetually arrogant, Conor McGregor, who not only instigated the whole blunder but also made it worse by involving Nurmagomedov's father and manager into the mix, continues to travel in private jets, wear expensive and colourful suits, and promote his whisky, with not even the remotest of regret or remorse showing on his face.