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So here we go. The fight has happened, the results are out the furore and madness of the post-fight melee is bouncing around social media, and the middle aged people of Ireland are delighted that they can finally ‘say I told you so’.
The fight itself was massively interesting. If I can take my slightly comical adoration of Conor off the table, it was like watching a human autopsy. That being that we really aren’t enjoying it but can’t take our eyes off it.
For a quick run through, Conor started well, making every takedown attempt from Khabib difficult for him to finish. Showing more skill that Khabib expected but that was early. Khabib is not the type of fighter who shoots for a takedown, resets and then goes again. He goes for a takedown and if he is blocked he will just go again from that exact spot. Something very different to the ‘Americanised’ wrestlers in the UFC. Conor never gave the look of someone unsure, but it looked beyond uncomfortable. Round one was over and the corner told him ‘good job’. Not sure what else could have been said, it started well but Conor’s back was on the canvas for too long, he didn’t take much damage. But round 2 was a different story. He took some damage there, /blocked a lot but took a lot and it was a 10-8 round for the belt holder. If the plan was to hope Khabib would tire late, this was a risk. Round 3 was Conor’s round and the first round that Khabib has lost in the UFC. He had gotten into the contest, moved slightly better and Khabib was tiring after the outlay in round 2. Was this Conor coming back? 10-9 McG. Coming into the 4th it was 2 rounds to 1 with 1 10-8 round. Back against the wall stuff. Khabib came out strong in R4 eventually securing the takedown and going for a choke before switching a neck crank for the win.
What followed was Khabib jumping the cage to attack Dillon Danis and some of Khabibs team jumping into the cage and getting a few punches in on Conor while he dished out some of his own. This is the long story short as we have been reading about this all day.
But the big question is, who is to blame for the post fight madness.
Well, there are a lot of people to blame. It all starts from a confrontation with Artem Lobov who was surrounded by Khabib and his team, a bully move. This was seen as an attack by Conor who flew to Brooklyn and the bus issue happened. He got the slap on the wrist (celebrities never pay the price like us civilians) the fight was on, the press conference happened where Conor used family and country to fire up Khabib. So as you can see, it is not a simple choice as to who caused this. Please understand there is no condoning the post-fight fight.
The UFC used the bus footage to pimp this fight to the masses and played it beyond regularly to drum up interest. Imagine being Khabib and seeing that all day every day. It wouldn’t help the keeping calm that is needed to fight. But he kept calm, until the end of the fight. He was a pressure cooker wound up beyond belief and it exploded once the fight ended.
But, the real people to blame is US. The consumer, the fight fans the enjoyer of 2 people fighting in a cage. We buy the PPV, the shirts, the merchandise and the whiskey. In doing so, we are giving our approval for this behaviour. I am all for pre-fight wind ups, mind games are a massive part of the game. Conor is the best at it. In his early UFC fights he used the serial killer voice, talked about mystic mac and post-fight there was usually a hand shake. Look at Diaz ½, Mendes etc. Sportsmanship was shown post fight. This is what we should see. But we only know where the line is when we cross it. But it is US who applauds line crossing and until that is fixed then we will have the post-fight craziness happening from time to time. When it gets that personal, we cannot expect fighters to act like golfers.
MMA is not for everyone. The big worry is the civilians in and around Vegas getting into fights. This is not right. Conor has behaved admirably again post fight. Not being outlandish, just saying he enjoyed it and is ready for the rematch. I think this is a way of defusing everything. Now that we know how far is too far I think we will be bringing back the scary mystic mac who looks through people without the need for brash show business.
Conor was paid 100mil to be the showman against Floyd, I can’t wait for him to become the fantastic fighter he is again. Ring rust is real, the oil is being applied.
On to the next one