Tuesday 15 October 2019

New details reveal ‘unnecessarily chaotic’ moments for Conor McGregor minutes before UFC defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov

Conor McGregor walks in the cage before fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov in a lightweight title mixed martial arts bout at UFC 229
Conor McGregor walks in the cage before fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov in a lightweight title mixed martial arts bout at UFC 229
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

New details have emerged which shed new light on Conor McGregor’s comprehensive loss to lightweight rival Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.

McGregor delivered in incredibly poor performance upon his long-awaited return to the Octagon, eventually tapping out in the fourth round as Nurmagomedov preserved his flawless professional record and defended his crown.

But it was the fight after the fight which has dominated the headlines ever since – with Nurmagomedov vaulting over the walls of the Octagon to attack McGregor’s training partner, Dillon Danis.

UFC fans were left with plenty of questions after watching McGregor’s decidedly off-colour performance – and new details have emerged which help to explain exactly why the Irishman was so poor in the one-sided title fight.

UFC commentator Joe Anik – who naturally had a cage side seat for the contest – has revealed that McGregor was left unsettled by several backstage issues.

Speaking on the Anik and Florian podcast, he explains exactly what was going on backstage in the minutes before the fight.

“Say what you want about his actions after the fight but everything up until he finished Conor McGregor, in my opinion, from Thursday, September 20 – which was the first face-off in New York City – to Herb Dean pulling him off of Conor, Khabib handled himself brilliantly,” he said.

“He just dismissed that narrative and then some. He made me feel like I wasted a whole lot of hot air talking about how he would handle that moment and on the other side, I thought Conor looked great all week.

“But all of a sudden on fight night, it seemed like his colour was gone, his confidence didn’t seem there, the smile wasn’t there, there were maybe some rumblings about some things or some circumstances backstage but Khabib handled the fight part of this with flying colours and proved that he probably is the most dominant force in the game, as advertised.”

Anik later explained exactly what those “circumstances” were in Twitter.

“He wasn’t injured,” he wrote in response to one fan asking him why McGregor seemed so unsettled.

“I was just told it was unnecessarily chaotic back there, lot of people coming in and out of the locker room. He also got wrapped by a cutman who hadn’t wrapped him before supposedly, which, while no big deal, still deviated from his norm.”

McGregor has since called for an immediate rematch with Nurmagomedov, although both fighters are currently under investigation by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their behaviour after the fight.

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