Conor McGregor’s UFC lightweight title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas was marred by a post-match brawl which resulted in arrests.
After tensions at Friday’s ceremonial weigh-in threatened to boil over, Nurmagomedov’s successful defence of his belt on Saturday night reached boiling point after the bout.
After his victory in the fourth round, the Russian champion leapt over the Octagon fence into the crowd and got into a fight with Dillon Danis, a Bellator welterweight who trains with McGregor.
A red-shirted fan then got involved and leapt into the cage and threw several punches at McGregor, before security intervened and escorted the Irishman and Nurmagomedov out of the arena.
UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) boss Dana White later told Fox Sports that three members of Nurmagomedov’s team were arrested.
He told ESPN it was “a very bad night” for the UFC, adding that Nurmagomedov could face a suspension for his actions.
“Khabib diving over [the cage] was ridiculous,” he said.
“You know, you just won a great fight, you fought brilliantly, you’re about to get the belt on and people are going to respect the fact that you fought well and you won the fight, and instead you dive over the cage and start this huge melee with Conor’s corner.”
At a news conference afterwards, Nurmagomedov said: “First of all I want to say sorry to Nevada Athletic Commission and second to Vegas. I know this is not my best side. I’m a human being.
“But I don’t understand how people can talk about how I jump on the cage. He talked about my religion, he talked about my country, he talked about my father.
“He came to Brooklyn and he broke bus, he almost killed a couple of people. What about this s***?”
Conor McGregor later tweeted: “Good knock. Looking forward to the rematch.”
Mr White has refused to give Nurmagomedov his belt and told ESPN that his winnings were also withheld – but the Nevada State Athletic Commission had paid McGregor after reviewing footage of the brawl.
It is not the first time the Irishman, or his opponent and their supporters have come to blows.
The 30-year-old Irish mixed martial arts star and others stormed a UFC event at the Barclays Center in New York in April.
Video footage showed people attempting to restrain McGregor as he appeared to throw a railing at a bus carrying long-time rival Nurmagomedov and a number of other UFC fighters.
Lightweight American mixed martial artist Michael Chiesa, who was among them and was reportedly injured in the brawl, is suing McGregor for causing “severe emotional distress, mental trauma and/or bodily harm”.
McGregor was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and misdemeanour assault but pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to community service.