There is a particular simplicity to the personality of UFC fighters. They are trained to pounce, attack and act on their instincts with viciousness and without fear or reservation. It’s what made them and it’s what sustains them.
Frankly, it’s the sheer brutality of the sport that attracts its competitors and keeps the fans coming back for more combat. You want blood? They’ll give you blood.
When it comes to Conor McGregor, perhaps the greatest combatant of them all, the lack of self-restraint that’s made him a champion continues to get him in trouble out of the ring. Over time, the foul-mouthed fighter has become a caricature of himself.
Less than a week after he announced he was retiring from the sport, McGregor started another fight with one of his competitors far outside the Octagon.
On Tuesday, McGregor verbally attacked the wife of his last opponent, Khabib Nurmagomedov on Twitter.
“Your wife is a towel mate,” McGregor tweeted, taking a jab at the couple’s religious customs. Then he posted two pictures of Nurmagomedov and his wife on their wedding day. As you might expect, there was a veil covering his wife’s face.
In October, McGregor and Nurmagomedov fought at UFC 229 in October and Nurmagomedov won by fourth-round submission. But it’s what happened after that might explain McGregor’s behavior.
Another fight broke out. Nurmagomedov jumped out of the Octagon to get at someone in McGregor’s corner. This was likely fueled by the ultra-personal trash talking about Nurmagomedov, his religion and his friends and associates. McGregor even called Nurmagomedov’s manager a terrorist snitch.
That resulted in the suspensions of both fighters and fined. McGregor’s suspension expires Saturday. But Nurmagomedov’s runs until Oct. 6.
On Tuesday, Nurmagomedov told a college audience in Moscow he didn’t believe McGregor would remain retired. That led to a tweet from a reporter insinuating that Nurmagomedov compared McGregor’s retirement to “a jealous wife who says I will leave the whole time but then comes back.”
Not long after, McGregor went after his Nurmagomedov’s wife. This is the same guy who flipped out in Florida after stealing the phone of some guy who was trying to get a picture.
There’s no other way to say this: McGregor is an idiot.
It seems he immediately understood that he’d crossed a dangerous line because the tweet was deleted about 15 minutes after it was originally posted. But it wasn’t taken down before someone screenshotted it and distributed it.
You can imagine how troubling this was for Nurmagomedov. He has tried to keep his family in the background during his career, particularly the identity of his wife. Once he became aware of McGregor’s tweet, he quickly counterpunched.
He called McGregor a rapist and a hypocrite. He said that justice would eventually find him. That was an obvious shot about the alleged sexual assault a New York Times report accused him of in Ireland last December. You’ll remember that he was arrested earlier this year and questioned about it before being released. He has not yet been charged.
“I am aware of the recent social media exchange between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor,” UFC president Dana White said. “The ongoing situation has escalated to a level that is unacceptable. As such, we are taking the necessary steps to reach out to both athlete camps and this situation is being addressed by all parties internally.”
Knowing how the UFC and professional boxing work, its quite possible McGregor is just stoking the fire, trying to get Nurmagomedov to fight him again for what would be a hefty payday. It’s quite possible McGregor’s instinct for rough stuff will convince him soon to jump back into ring. How better to instigate a fight than to insult the wife on a worthy opponent?
McGregor seemed to apologize for his words on Twitter on Wednesday.
“I want to move forward, with my fans of all faiths and all backgrounds. All faiths challenge us to be our best selves. It is one world and one for all. Now see you in the Octagon.”
That seems impossible to believe. McGregor and Nurmagomedov have been after each other for almost a year. McGregor went nuts on a bus transporting Nurmagomedov and several other fighters and employees to the promotion of the October battle.
McGregor threw a metal dolly into the window of another bus at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and two fighters suffered minor injuries. That got McGregor arrested and charged with a misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He had to do community service time.
Will McGregor come back to fight again? You can bet on it. Not even White believes he’ll stay retired.
“I think there’s some things that Conor wants. I think that Conor wants to get together, face-to-face, he and I, and we probably will in the next couple of weeks to get this thing figured out,” White said.
“He’s stuck on this thing where he wants a piece of the ownership. I think there’s other ways we can make him happy.”
Will he finally shut his mouth? We doubt it.