UFC President Dana White says the promotion is taking measures to simmer down the feud between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor after it’s turned more personal than ever.
The history between UFC lightweight champ Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC) and ex-champ McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) is well documented. The Brooklyn bus attack by “The Notorious” ramped things up as it largely served as the catalyst to a deeply personal build-up to their fight last October at UFC 229.
Nurmagomedov won the grudge match by submission to defend his title, but the bad blood carried over into a post-fight brawl that led to fines and suspensions for both athletes and their teammates. The months since have seen Nurmagomedov and McGregor take shots at each other over social media, but it reached a whole new level Tuesday night.
McGregor posted a since-deleted tweet calling Nurmagomedov’s wife a “towel”, and the reigning 155-pound champ responded by labeling his Irish foe a “rapist” stemming from reports of an ongoing sexual assault investigation in Dublin. Those messages apparently struck a chord with White and has caused the UFC to step in.
“I am aware of the recent social media exchange between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor,” White told MMA Junkie in a statement. “The ongoing situation has escalated to a level that is not acceptable. 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.”
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White did not provide further details about what “taking the necessary steps” would entail and whether it could result in any sort of further punishments for the athletes, who are still under suspensions from the Nevada State Athletic Commission stemming from the UFC 229 brawl.
The UFC does have an athlete code of conduct that does include, without limitation, the ability to impose discipline for “violent, threatening or harassing behavior,” as well as “derogatory or offensive conduct, including without limitation insulting language, symbols or actions about a person’s ethnic background, heritage, color, race, national origin, age, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation.”
There are very few instances in which the UFC has publicly acknowledged a fighter disobeying the code of conduct. In May 2013, Nate Diaz was suspended by the promotion for calling another fighter a homophobic slur on social media. And in April 2015, Jon Jones was stripped of his UFC light heavyweight title after he was involved in a hit-and-run that left a pregnant woman with a broken arm.