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Ronda Rousey reacts to UFC 229 brawl: ‘There’s too much preferential treatment for high-profile fighters’

Cynthia Vance, MMA Fighting

Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey may have missed the fight between lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor at UFC 229 but she certainly didn’t miss the fallout

Speaking with TMZ Sports, current WWE Raw Women’s Champion Rousey, alongside her husband Travis Browne, gave her take on the melee that followed Nurmagomedov’s fourth-round submission win.

“I understand promoting fights and having to sell them,” said Rousey. “I really do. I get it. But I don’t think people have to get arrested in order to do that. I think I’ve been able to prove that you can make a fight exciting and make people really wanna see it without crossing any legal lines.

“But I’m glad it was a great match. I’m sorry it’s kind of soured by the aftermath. Their performances aren’t going to get enough credit because of what happened and I really hope it doesn’t become an ongoing trend. I want people to feel safe bringing their kids to fights.”

During the incident, Nurmagomedov, McGregor and their teams were involved in several heated confrontations, both in and out of the octagon.

Nurmagomedov later defended his actions by pointing to McGregor bringing up his religion and father during the lead up to the fight, as well as the bus incident in April following the UFC 223 media day.

For Rousey, McGregor’s actions warranted a far greater punishment than anything Nurmagomedov will receive.

“I think that Khabib jumping out of the octagon was not as bad as throwing objects at a bus, because my friend Rose Namajunas was on that bus. My friend, Michael Chiesa, missed his fight because [he suffered an injured from broken glass],” said Rousey. “So I just feel like there has to be equal treatment all the way across the board. I don’t think that anyone should get special treatment because they’re a bigger draw.

“I think that’s the same when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs, when it comes to felonies, when it comes to hit and runs or anything like that. I think there’s too much preferential treatment given to high-profile fighters. I think there needs to be equal discipline across the board because people are going to start think that once they get to a certain level then the rules don’t apply for them.”

The Nevada State Athletic Commission is currently withholding Nurmagomedov’s $2 million fight purse while they continue their investigation. McGregor, on the other hand, received his full $3 million paycheck. However, both men were issued temporary suspensions, pending the completion of the commission’s investigation.

“I would be much more strict about everything,” said Rousey. “I say you get popped for steroids once, you’re banned for life. You know, but then again I’m not the promoter of a multi-million dollar organization. It’s just - you have to think about, you know, from their perspective when is it not worth it anymore? I don’t want the company to be prioritizing this quarter over the next 10 years.

“I don’t want it to get to the point where people are not buying tickets to go see fights live, because they are afraid of what could happen in the arena.”

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