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Morning Report: Dana White won’t temper trash talk in Khabib vs. McGregor rematch: ‘This is the fight business’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

We all know how this story ends.

UFC 229 was supposed to be the biggest night in UFC history; and it was, shattering the previous UFC pay-per-view record with nearly 2.4 million buys. But with the eyes of the world watching, Khabib Nurmagomedov turned UFC President Dana White’s dreams into nightmares, submitting McGregor in the fourth round and then leaping into the crowd to attack McGregor’s fight team, sparking a brawl that was the talk of the sports world for weeks after.

Nurmagomedov’s actions were the end result of a particularly contentious fight build up, which saw Khabib and his crew corner McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov over comments Lobov (a native Russian) made and then saw McGregor respond by attacking a bus Nurmagomedov was on. Then of course there was the ever present trash-talk of McGregor who badmouthed Khabib’s family, friends, religion, and country in order to get under the lightweight champion’s skin. It clearly worked. But despite all the bad that came from allowing McGregor and Nurmagomedov to go unchecked in the months leading up to their fight, Dana White wouldn’t change a thing.

Speaking recently during an ESPN Q & A, White said that should a potential rematch happen between Nurmagomedov and McGregor, the UFC won’t implement any rules or restrictions to keep things from going off the rails again.

“Well my philosophy on this stuff is that this a fight,” said White. “Since the beginning of time people have said mean things to each other in a fight, no matter what. Muhammad Ali called Joe Frazier an Uncle Tom, back when that was one of the worst things you could say to a guy. He called him a gorilla; ‘it’s gonna be a thriller and a chiller when I get the gorilla in Manilla,’ and things like that. And for the rest of his life, [Frazier] hated Muhammad Ali, hated him for the things that he said about him. This is not the nice business, this is the fight business. This wasn’t the first time that mean things were said to another person and it won’t be the last.”

This isn’t exactly a shocker. After all, White allowed the UFC to use footage of the McGregor bus attack in the promotional build up to UFC 229, despite calling the event the ”most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company” when it occurred. It’s hard to imagine the UFC would try to tone things down for a rematch when putting a spotlight on McGregor’s indiscretions led to their biggest event ever. An immediate rematch, especially one that highlights ‘The Eagle’ flying into the crowd to swing on everyone, figures to be the biggest fight the UFC can put on right now. That would obviously leave deserving contenders like Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson out in the cold, but at the end of the day, business will always reign supreme.

If, of course, they can even make the fight in the first place. The UFC is still waiting for the Nevada Athletic Commission to issue punishments for both fighters for their roles in the UFC 229 fiasco, punishments that could see suspensions for both men. The NAC meets on December 10th to discuss possible sanctions and, until that is resolved, White says it’s not worth thinking about whether the immediate rematch is up next.

“I don’t know if the immediate rematch happens because we got to see what the Nevada State Athletic Commission hands down in December when that hearing happens,” White said. “So I’m not even thinking about that, I’m thinking about possibilities in the future but, right now, not even worth thinking about until we find out what happens in Nevada.”


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The almighty dollar is king. If Dana is already talking about the possibility of a rematch, it’s gonna happen. Just wait.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!



Do Khabib and Conor ever rematch?

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  • 19%
    Yes, immediately.
    (328 votes)
  • 59%
    Yes, eventually.
    (1013 votes)
  • 20%
    (351 votes)
1692 votes total Vote Now

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