UFC 229 on Saturday night in Las Vegas was one of the most anticipated events in company history. Conor McGregor was returning to the cage following nearly a two-year layoff to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight championship he once held. When all was said and done, McGregor was unsuccessful in that venture, submitting to a choke applied by Nurmagomedov in the fourth round after taking a beating to that point. The action didn't end there, though, as UFC 229 will unfortunately be remembered more for the post-fight happenings as opposed to the title match itself.
Beginning with Nurmagomedov scaling the cage to attack fellow fighter Dillon Danis on the outside, the UFC 229 main event turned into one of the more embarrassing moments in mixed marital arts history. Given the gravity of the situation that took place on Saturday night, there are a lot of questions that need answers attached. While it could be quite a while before all of them reach a resolution, here is what we know to this point.
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UFC 229 brawl fallout
Khabib maintaining possession of his title?: The assumption by many coming out of the UFC 229 chaos was that when the final punishments were handed out to all parties, that would likely include Nurmagomedov being stripped of the lightweight championship he retained over McGregor. That might not end up being the case, though. In an interview with TMZ, UFC president Dana White said he will absolutely not strip Nurmagomedov of his title. What's more, White believes that the champ should only be fined a small portion of his purse as opposed to the entire amount.
"He absolutely keeps his title," White told TMZ. "And he's going to get suspended, so maybe you give him a four-to-six month suspension.
"Listen, [the NAC] took his whole purse right now, and they're talking about keeping his purse. I do not think that that should happen," White added when asked about what should happen to Nurmagomedov. "You should not be able to keep his whole purse. ... I think they should take $250,000 from him."
Light suspensions handed out: Late Monday night, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) announced 10-day suspensions for both McGregor and Nurmagomedov as it prepares to thoroughly investigate the incident from Saturday night. This is nothing more than a preemptive punishment handed down to the two fighters ahead of the formal investigation that will likely bring about some more severe consequences.
Complaints filed: If you thought McGregor was completely out of hot water in this incident, that's not exactly the case. According to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, who spoke to Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) chairman Anthony Marnell on Monday, complaints will be filed against both McGregor and Nurmagomedov after officials were able to review previously unseen footage from the incident. The filings will take place over the course of the next 24 to 28 hours.
"We will be filing against Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov," Marnell said. "Because we withheld one purse, we will have to move expeditiously to a complaint and hearing. We have held 100 percent of one of the fighter's money, so the goal is to get the complaints out in the next 24 to 48 hours."
Marnell later stated that the goal is to hold the disciplinary hearings for the two fighters by the end of November.
Khabib's father ready to dole out harsh punishment: During his brief post-fight press conference on Saturday, Nurmagomedov told reporters that he knew his father was going to "smash him" for his actions. As if anyone had a doubt, the champion apparently was not joining at all. Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov spoke to Russian reporters on Sunday and he told them he will be very had on his son for the incident that he caused following his victory.
Probably all the same for Khabib, the toughest sanctions are my attitude," Nurmagomedov said via MMA Junkie. "I will be very hard on this. I warned him. For me, discipline comes first."
McGregor's coach wants leniency for Khabib: McGregor's longtime coach John Kavanagh took the time to discuss the brawl on the "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast, and his take on everything may surprise some. Speaking to Rogan, Kavanagh said that he wants the NSAC to be lenient on Nurmagomedov when they ultimately do decide his fate, and he even praised his efforts in the cage. As for what his teammates did, however, Kavanagh can't find a way to excuse what they pulled on Saturday night.
"I hope (The Nevada State Athletic Commission) is lenient on (Nurmagomedov)," Kavanagh said. "Not just so we can get a rematch. I just love watching him fight. I can stretch myself to understand his reaction. I can't stretch myself to understand [his teammates] reaction. For Khabib, it's not the end of the world."
McGregor requests immediate rematch: UFC president Dana White appeared on ESPN's "First Take" on Monday, and he revealed that McGregor is indeed angling for an immediate rematch inside the Octagon with Nurmagomedov. Naturally, though, White pointed out that the undefeated lightweight champion must deal with consequences likely headed his way from the NSAC, as well as whatever legal punishment may come before him. White didn't shoot down the notion of a rematch, though, and was even kind enough to include former interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson in the discussion, as "El Cucuy" had an impressive win in his return as well at UFC 229.
"(Nurmagomedov) has to go before the Nevada commission, and we have to see what's going to happen with Khabib and this whole mess," White said. "But Conor McGregor has already called me, wanting a rematch.
"That's what Conor has asked for. We'll see what happens with Khabib and what's next. Tony Ferguson looked amazing. Those two have been lined up three different times to fight and it hasn't happened. We'll see how things play out."
Luke Rockhold believes Khabib will request a heavy payout: When the melee was finally dying down on Saturday night, there were two notable American Kickboxing Academy teammates of Nurmagomedov helping in calming the champ down: reigning light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former middleweight champion Rockhold. Monday, Rockhold -- who's set to compete against rival Chris Weidman at UFC 230 on Nov. 3 -- appeared with Ariel Helwani on his ESPN show and admitted that if a rematch were to come to fruition, then Khabib would demand the biggest payout check in the history of mixed martial arts.
UFC legend Chuck Liddell weighs in: In an Instagram post on Monday, legendary former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell took time away from training for his upcoming trilogy bout with Tito Ortiz to give his thoughts on the matter. Liddell commended both fighters for their efforts on Saturday before turning his attention to the extracurricular activities that took place. Echoing the sentiments of many over the course of the past few days, the "Iceman" pointed out how embarrassing the brawl was, while also calling out UFC for its promotional efforts leading up to the fight that only fueled the fire.
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Incredible performance by both fighters @thenotoriousmma and @khabib_nurmagomedov But to end it like they did was a huge embarrassment to the sport. We (fighters)are sportsmen and champions and we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. We owe it to our fans and the sport itself. I don’t know when things started turning into some kind of shit show?!!! Unfortunately, when you allow more and more B.S. during weigh ins and outside of fights; You only slap fighters on the wrist for acting like barbarians and then offer them bigger contracts and reward them for this behavior. There is no penalty for their actions and it condones this type of behavior and consequently our sport loses its sacred respect. #respect #honor #martialarts #champion #goldenboypromotions #timeshavechanged #sportsmanship #whatashame
"Incredible performance by both fighters @thenotoriousmma and @khabib_nurmagomedov," Liddell said. "But to end it like they did was a huge embarrassment to the sport. We (fighters) are sportsmen and champions and we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. We owe it to our fans and the sport itself. I don't know when things started turning into some kind of shit show?!!! Unfortunately, when you allow more and more B.S. during weigh ins and outside of fights; You only slap fighters on the wrist for acting like barbarians and then offer them bigger contracts and reward them for this behavior. There is no penalty for their actions and it condones this type of behavior and consequently our sport loses its sacred respect."
Arrests: Three men involved in the brawl were arrested on Saturday night in T-Mobile Arena. UFC president Dana White confirmed the men appeared to be associates of Nurmagomedov. In a more formal press conference later on, though, White revealed that McGregor refused to press charges against the men and they have since been released.
Purses: Initially, White said that both McGregor and Nurmagomedov would not receive their guaranteed paychecks of $3 million and $2 million, respectively, as they were being withheld by the NSAC. However, White clarified himself a short time later by revealing to reporters that while McGregor would indeed receive his pay, the champion's check is being withheld due to his actions after his victory.