UFC 229: Vladimir Putin proud of Khabib Nurmagomedov despite brawl

VladimirPutin - cropped
Russia president Vladimir Putin (Getty Images)

Khabib Nurmagomedov revealed Russia president Vladimir Putin called him to express his pride in the lightweight champion, despite the brawl that followed his UFC 229 win over Conor McGregor.

The eagerly-anticipated bout ended when Nurmagomedov claimed a fourth-round submission of McGregor, who was making his first mixed martial arts appearance since he won the lightweight title in November 2016.

However, the undefeated champion then climbed out of the Octagon after sealing the win and sparked fighting by leaping towards Dillon Danis, a member of his opponent’s team.

Meanwhile, two individuals entered the cage behind McGregor and threw punches at the 30-year-old, though UFC president Dana White later stated no charges would be pressed by the Irishman.

In a post-fight news conference, the Russian fighter detailed a conversation he had with Putin, who invited McGregor to watch the World Cup final alongside him, while Nurmagomedov spectated from elsewhere inside the Luzhniki Stadium.

 
 
 

 
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“I am very proud. All media talk about he [McGregor had a] picture with Putin or something like this. He just called me and he said he’s very proud of me, my win, he said congratulations,” Nurmagomedov said.

The lightweight champion also issued an apology for how UFC 229 ended, but suggested he was provoked into his actions.

“First of all I want to say sorry to [Nevada State] Athletic Commission, Nevada, sorry to Vegas. I know this is not my best side. This is not my best side. I am a human being,” Nurmagomedov said. “I do not understand how people can talk [about how] I jump on the cage. What about he talked about my religion, he talked about my country, he talked about my father. He came to Brooklyn, and he broke [the] bus.”

He added: “I think [the] media changed MMA a little bit. It’s a respect sport; this is not a trash-talking sport. I told you guys I want to change this game. I don’t want people to talk s— about opponents, talk s— about his father, like religion. You cannot talk about religion, you cannot talk about nation. You cannot talk about this stuff. For me, this is very important.”