Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is less than two weeks away from its upcoming UFC 242: “Khabib vs. Poirier” pay-per-view (PPV) mixed martial arts (MMA) event on ESPN+, scheduled for Sat., Sept. 7, 2019 inside The Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
Khabib Nurmagomedov defends his lightweight belt against interim champion, Dustin Poirier, in the five-round main event. “The Eagle” is putting both his title and his undefeated record on the line against “The Diamond,” who beat Max Holloway to capture the substitute strap.
So why isn’t anyone excited?
“No drama, no pointing, no shouting, no swearing,” UFC analyst and former champion Michael Bisping said on his official podcast (transcribed by BJPenn.com). “Just respect, which is great to see but it’s not getting the hype. It’s not getting nowhere near the hype. As big as a star as what Khabib is, cause he is a huge star he’s got a massive social media following now, he’s all over the world he’s world famous, but I just don’t think that’s gonna deliver as much. Just simply because fireworks sell. Simple as that. It does, it’s fighting and it does help sell the fight.”
Fireworks sell. So do water bottles.
Despite his shenanigans at UFC 229 last October, Nurmagomedov is typically preaching “always be humble” while Poirier is simply a blue-collar worker with his own charity and a family to support. There’s not a lot of trash to be talked as we gear up for this lightweight showdown.
That might require an adjustment period for UFC fans raised on the antics of former 155-pound champion, Conor McGregor, who had the biggest mouth in all of combat sports, as well as the biggest paycheck. Sadly, the two often go hand-in-hand.
But hand-in-hand is better than spit-in-face, I suppose.