Mike Tyson condemned the ugly scenes that followed Conor McGregor’s defeat by rival Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 on Saturday night, with the former heavyweight world champion claiming that the mass brawl was worse than the night he bit Evander Holyfield’s ear off.
McGregor submitted in the fourth round to suffer the second defeat of his UFC career, having been away from the sport for two years after deciding to fight Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring.
Former boxer Tyson, whose past in Vegas is well documented, watched the fight unfold before the ugly scenes afterwards as the two camps clashed.
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Khabib jumped off the apron to attack McGregor’s training partner and Bellator welterweight Dillon Danis, and while a melee broke out outside the Octagon, three of Khabib’s camp jumped into it to attack McGregor – who was still recovering from being choked out.
Zubaira Tukhugov, a featherweight with a 3-1 record in the UFC, was one of those involved in the attack on McGregor.
Tyson expressed his thoughts on Twitter, saying: “Watching the @TheNotoriousMMA vs @TeamKhabib fight. Unimaginable never thought it would go down like this. Crazier than my fight riot.”
Tyson caused huge controversy in 1997 when he twice bit Holyfield’s ear, getting himself disqualified from the hugely anticipated heavyweight title bout at the end of the third round. A huge riot developed as the announcement of the result was read out, and Tyson saw $3m of his $30m purse withheld on top of a $3m fine and banned from boxing for 15 months.
A number of MMA fighters also offered their thoughts on the brawl.
Former UFC lightweight champion of the world Rafael dos Anjos was less than impressed by Nurmagomedov and his team, calling their actions “unacceptable”.
“You can’t jump the fence and punch the fighter,” he said.
Many pointed to McGregor’s attack on Nurmagomedov’s on a bus in April – footage of which was used in promoting this fight – as justification for Nurmagomedov’s actions, but a number of MMA fighters disagreed.
Megan Anderson claimed “one evil doesn’t make another ok” and said Nurmagomedov should have risen above what had happened.
“As a champion, you set a higher standard,” she wrote. “You don’t stoop to that level. This is not the actions of a champion.”
Corey Anderson felt the incident would be used to paint McGregor as “the victim” while Daniel Cormier said it showed that “some things aren’t for fight promotion”.
British boxer Tony Bellew chimed in too to condemn the post-fight attack on McGregor.
“Connor (sic) lost the fight fair and square yes.. Not a chance in the world he deserves to be attacked by 2 men!” he wrote, adding: “It’s a disgrace! People bringing up the bus incident? No comparison!”
British MMA fighter John Maguire suggested there might be a more cynical motive behind the drama.
“Don’t worry people it will all be forgotten about in a couple of weeks and then there will be a even bigger build-up for a rematch,” he wrote.
Others wondered if McGregor would return to a UFC ring again.
Olympic boxer Tony Jeffries wrote: “Gutted for Connor (sic), the most entertaining man in sport… I hope this isn’t the end.”
But he could take reassurance from the message from McGregor’s own coach, which suggested he plans to be back.
“Another historical night,” John Kavanagh wrote. “Amazing atmosphere, technical fight with excitement all the way thru. All that makes MMA a great sport. Shame about the ending. On to the next one.”
Additional reporting by PA
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