UFC Goes Low, Boxing Goes High



UFC Goes Low, Boxing Goes High

If you are a sports fans, not even a fight fan, or a boxing or an MMA fan, but a sports fan, period, then you know that UFC 229 ended in a shit show after Khabib Nurmagomedov treated Conor McGregor like he insulted his mama, papa and whole lineage…and owed him money, and tried to pay him an installment in nickels.

Yeah, the fighting pride of Dagestan showed what happens when one dude is engaging in shit talk to build hype and juice PPV buy numbers, and the other dude ain’t on the same page.

Khabib took the shit talk to heart and paid McGregor back, with interest.

And with vicious intent, which didn’t end after he choked the Irishman worse than folks are choking when they drink Conor’s apparently putrid whiskey….

Many were clutching their pearls after Khabib went all Altamont on Conor’s boy Dilon, and hopped the cage to give him some Dagestani payback.

Oh my, what sort of wayward behavior is this….where is the class and dignity we come to expect from fight sports?

Er, wait, what…Fight sports have a quite rich history of before the bout and post fight hijinks. So let’s not act like we’ve never seen something so odious before. Khabib’s loco move had nothing on James Butler’s grotesque sucker punch on Richard Grant, on ESPN, in 2001.

But, here are a couple points to get off my chest:

—The UFC got what they paid for, they basically asked for this off the rails affair, after they used Conor’s bus attack and arrest to help hype this PPV, which will be one of their top sellers. So Dana White acting surprised or appalled is a bit of a BS move. But..did they want this sort of melee, which featured violence that could result in lawsuits, and no organization likes that? I don’t think so…So, they wanted hardcore buzz, and they wanted the combatants to go to the edge of the line…but not step over it like Khabib did. Then again…think a part of White isn't amped to the gills that their imminent rematch could be the top UFC PPV seller ever? Yeah,  make no mistake, the vicious beefing heading into this clash is the sort of thing that renders Cialis not needed for a promoter. White adored this built in narrative booster, make no mistake about that.

—McGregor posted that he lost the match but won the battle.

Not sure what he meant by that…maybe the money stack. He got choked by a better man and got whacked again after a ninny jumped the cage and tried to sucker him. The paycheck will be great and I think that will go a long way to cheer up the loser. But he lost to Floyd Mayweather..and now Khabib. That does something to detract from his aura. And what about the reviews for that whiskey? Yikes…

—Contrast that UFC bad blood display and what you see here…

As Artur Beterbiev and Callum Johnson show stellar sportsmanship…

And here…

Where Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller pays his respects to Tomasz Adamek after stopping the proud Pole…

That’s good stuff, friends. And a very narrow band of people will see these actions, which speak highly of all four men involved…and none of those four fighters will pick up a large fraction of what Conor made, for acting the fool and antagonizing Khabib to the point where the Dagestani lost his shit. But all four should be proud, very proud, of their behavior following combat.

“Each person must live their life as a model for others,” is a quote by the activist Rosa Parks; I think this message should be ringing more true during this ultra tumultuous time in America. Conor, he made the money and snagged the views and the hits and the hype…but are you looking up to that, really?

Do you think his arc is one destined for a happy ending? Or will this Irishman have to learn that King Midas adage?

I tip my hat to those four boxers, for their comparatively small but far more significant role-modeling on display after gloving up Saturday in Chicago. They all won, because they acted with class and decency and dignity.


Follow Woods on Twitter.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.