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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

Did Conor McGregor throw the first punch in UFC 229 during post-fight brawl? Video evidence suggests he did

‘Notorious’ appears to have thrown the first punch in the octagon at a member of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s team in Las Vegas during the melee

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 4:56pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 6:00pm

Did Conor McGregor throw the first punch in the octagon moments after his UFC 229 submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov?

Videos surfacing on the internet from fans who attended the fight in Las Vegas seem to suggest he did – even though millions who watched the official broadcast had cast McGregor as the victim.

Watching the official fight video that millions witnessed on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena, it appeared “Notorious” was first attacked by members of the Russian camp – identified as Zubaira Tukhugov and Islam Makhachev moments after his fourth-round loss.

While it appears that Nurmagomedov first climbed over the fence and launched himself into the crowd, targeting McGregor’s training partner, Dillon Danis, new video footage that has surfaced suggests a different picture.

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In the videos, tweeted by fans from a different angle, McGregor initially attempted to climb over the cage wall but is stopped by security.

The Irishman stayed on the fence only to be joined by Nurmagomedov’s cousin, Abubakar Nurmagomedov, who sat next to McGregor. Upon close inspection, it appeared the Irishman took a swing at Abubakar before the Russian responded furiously by swinging wildly with his fists.

While attention was focused on Nurmagomedov and the crowd, McGregor jumped back on the mat before he was attacked by three Russians from Nurmagomedov’s camp. The Dagestan fighter, meanwhile, stormed out of the ring after he and Danis were separated by security.

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Tukhugov was one of three members of Nurmagomedov’s camp arrested and then released in the wake of the post-fight melee.

Tukhugov later took to social media bragging that he had slapped McGregor during the chaos.

“I slapped him as promised,” Tukhugov wrote. “I promised to make him answer for his words, and I did.”

Nurmagomedov appeared in a press conference hours after the chaos and apologised for the fracas but tried to justify his actions by saying McGregor had made “unacceptable remarks” leading up to the fight.

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“He talked about my religion. He talked about my country. He talked about my father,” Nurmagomedov said of McGregor, adding, “This is a respect sport, this is not a trash-talking sport ... You cannot talk about religion, you cannot talk about a nation, you cannot talk about this stuff. For me, this is very important.”

UFC president Dana White was shocked by the melee.

“We have to see what happens ... can these guys get visas and get back in the country? And I mean Khabib,” White said. “The biggest night of the year, and I’m disgusted.”

McGregor decided not to press charges against his Russian attackers and the whole incident will be thoroughly reviewed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, with Nurmagomedov possibly losing his belt and receiving a lengthy suspension.

Additional reporting by Associated Press