Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Khabib Nurmagomedov once wore a shirt into Brazil that said “If Sambo were easy, it would be called [Brazilian] Jiu Jitsu”, walked out into an arena of people chanting his death, and knocked his Brazilian opponent out cold. The man grew up wrestling bears. He learned to walk on a wrestling mat. While beating down Michael Johnson at UFC 205, he calmly informed Johnson, “I need to fight for the title. You know this. I deserve it” while dropping elbows on Johnson’s face. The Dagestani is a serious guy.
Yet, of all the unbelievable things Khabib has ever done, declaring solidarity with his teammate after he was cut during a brawl Nurmagomedov started in the aftermath of UFC 229 is his best ever, for four big reasons.
Firstly, Nurmagomedov told the UFC if they were going to cut Zubaira Tukhogov, “don’t forget to send me my broken contract, otherwise I’ll break it myself.” That willingness to walk away from the Ultimate Fighting Championship comes off as completely genuine. Khabib is not kidding. He doesn’t need the American-based promotion. Russia is its’ own market and Khabib is a national star there. The UFC, though, definitely stand to lose if Khabib walks. He just headlined the biggest UFC Pay-Per-View of all time, just under 2.5 million buys, and choked out the biggest draw in MMA history. That puts him in a position of unprecedented leverage.
Secondly, he told the UFC to keep their money. Who scoffs at millions of dollars? Khabib’s entire purse is currently being held by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), unlike McGregor’s. “I hope it doesn’t get stuck in your throat” is also a ridiculously cool line. This is the part that really lets us know, Khabib isn’t playing games. If he is leaving that much money on the table, he is truly willing to walk away. That is a terrifying man to sit across a bargaining table from, because it means the UFC have no leverage over him. Nurmagomedov does not care about the money.
Thirdly, this is the first time I can recall where a fighter of Khabib’s stature threw his entire weight behind a teammate in solidarity. That’s not a small thing. Fellow AKA fighter Josh Thomson wondered if this could be a dawning of a new collective consciousness in fighters’ minds. Despite the team format of MMA gyms, most fighters have an extremely individualistic approach to fighting. When Aljamain Sterling tried to get a better deal from the UFC and the company decided they would rather let him go than pay him more, it never occured to Chris Weidman to put his own position in the company at risk to support his gym mate. Project Spearhead, the anonymous card-collecting effort to unionize the UFC, just had another of their most public supporters- Kajan Johnson- leave the promotion. It may be too much to hope that this display galvanizes a collective identity among fighters, but it sets a bold precedent.
View this post on Instagram
This could be the beginning of fighters realizing the power they have to band together. You have no reason to doubt the fact that @khabib_nurmagomedov will follow through with his message to @danawhite and @ufc This type of action puts the ball in the fighters court as long as they stick together, this could lead to great things, like the Ali act for MMA athletes. #Ufc #MMA #boxing #danawhite #sambo #russia #dagestan #moscow #lasvegas #vegas #losangeles
Lastly, Khabib set out his case in a way that made sense to people. “We never give up on our brothers in Russia and I will go to the end for my brother” is the kind of stirring line that people instantly connect with. From what I can tell in the comments sections, Khabib’s stand is wildly popular with fans. It was Khabib, after all, that started the brawl. Everything flowed from his actions, and from that perspective his ‘brothers’ were just backing him up. It makes sense for Khabib to take all the blame on his shoulders and not let his teammate suffer for something he started. He also pointed out that in his mind, he defended his honor. That “realness” is a quality people have an appetite for. In a world known for it’s bluster and promotion, Khabib doesn’t play.
Artem Lobov doesn’t want Tukhugov cut, he wants to fight the guy.
Dana dont let Tukhugov escape his punishment, put him back in! @danawhite— Artem Lobov (@RusHammerMMA) October 11, 2018
Daniel Cormier might be reaching a little bit with this one. Lobov didn’t hurt anyone personally. Zub jumped into the cage and punched McGregor.
Once again two wrongs. Zub was wrong, Artem at bus was wrong. They hate each other so much. Let em fight!!! And how could y’all not appreciate this level of loyalty for Khabib. It’s crazy. Walk away from millions and the UFC! No1 does that!— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 11, 2018
Breaking news: nothing has happened yet in regard to suspensions.
Breaking: Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov will be temporarily suspended on Oct. 15, according to Nevada Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 11, 2018
A hearing will take place on Oct. 24 on whether they should be indefinitely suspended pending their investigations. pic.twitter.com/YfM0nOkIe6
This story shared by MMA legend Frank Shamrock is so sad. The United States doesn’t do a good job caring for people with mental health issues.
View this post on Instagram
One week ago my brother was arrested while trying to shop at Walmart because he supposedly frightened a child. Perry is a Navy Veteran who suffers from Bipolar and PTSD and has lived on the streets of Redding Ca for the past 10 years. He is harmless and always keeps to himself preferring to live outdoors and on his own terms then to be locked up in a hospital for his oddities. He was always a little different, a natural born artist who could draw and play music with ease and even while being homeless Perry was finishing a book about his life. A memoir about what it was like to be a homeless veteran in the United States. Perry was sent to Redding county jail and then left unattended and during that time, he took his own life. My brother served our country in the US Navy determined to protect our freedom and he died alone and ashamed in a Jail cell. Perry died of Stigma - he simply looked and acted differently and people didn’t know what to do around him. But we are all different inside. Perry saved my life when I was 10 years old and drowning. I wish I could have saved him this time around. He did not even know why he was in jail - he is mentally ill and didn’t understand what was happening to him. This has to stop. My heart is broken. #savingperry #curestigma #mentalhealth #bipolar
UFC 230 is still a great fight card, especially if you forget the fights that could have been.
View this post on Instagram
#ufc230 poster. #theblackbeast #houston #texas #htown #ufcheavyweights #ufctitle #ufcchampionshipfight #fightnight #newyork #madisonsquaregarden #mainstreetboxing #mainstreetboxingandmuaythai #mma #ufc #bjj #boxing #martialarts #mixedmartialarts #wrestling #grappling #fighting #houstonstandup #kickboxing #striking #knockoutking #andnew
Well... this might be one more good thing to come from the incident
I am told that the family of Ali Abdelaziz's son Noah have contacted NSAC in regards to his estranged father's outstanding child support arrears. The commission has Abdelaziz's $200k cut locked up with Khabib's purse. Interesting Mexican standoff shaping up in NV.— Mike Russell (@MIKERUSSELLMMA) October 11, 2018
Stipe Miocic is miffed Cormier openly took the Lewis fight because he considered it easier on short notice.
Daniel Cormier was not taking prisoners online today
The best of Khabib and DC
Chael Sonnen wants Bellator to re-sign Eddie Alvarez
You sign Eddie Alvarez or I quit.— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) October 12, 2018
That’s a very big check for a regional show.
DC defends his stance on Zubaira
I don’t only dislike jones because of that. There are many reasons bud. https://t.co/O89ERduPdN— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 11, 2018
Fedor is also very cool, the original Russian GOAT.
Fedor: I agree that my body is not the body builder’s body. In this case, he is right. But in the cage, there are different measurements. #Bellator208— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) October 11, 2018
Dillon Danis denies using an Islamaphobic slur
Here’s Conor McGregor’s teammate @dillondanis’ first comments since Saturday night. Danis has been accused of calling Khabib Nurmagomedov an anti-Muslim slur and sparking the melee after the UFC 229 main event. pic.twitter.com/MsXMKbELzQ— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 11, 2018
even if you believe Dillon is a perpetual liar for some reason just think about it. have you any idea how loud that arena was at that moment? imagine how loud dillon would have to be SCREAMING at for khabib to hear him? yet no mics or anyone credible heard it? strange eh?— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) October 11, 2018
Derrick Lewis and DC’s backstage conversation is very funny.
Combat sports this weekend include Derrick Crawford and not one but two Bellator events