An MMA Thanksgiving: 2018 All-Turkey Team

2018 All-Turkey Team

By Staff Nov 22, 2018
Ben Duffy/ illustration

’Tis that time of year again, folks. While most Americans are sitting around stuffing their faces with turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes and mellowing out to some tryptophan, the staff at has compiled its All-Turkey Team for 2018.

In the past, mixed martial arts has provided us with quite a few questionable characters, and this year has been no different. The latest group of offenders -- or members -- delivered what might have been the most eclectic rap sheet yet.


Conor McGregor

This isn’t about wins and losses, so rest assured that McGregor didn’t make our All-Turkey Team because of what happened in the Octagon at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 6. Instead, the “Notorious” receives this dubious honor on the basis of what happened leading up to his fourth-round submission defeat against Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC 229 headliner. The result itself wasn’t all that surprising.

McGregor reportedly earned in the neighborhood of $100 million -- life-changing money by most any definition -- for his brief foray into the Sweet Science against Floyd Mayweather in August 2017. As the Irishman entered a new tax bracket and reached a new level of celebrity, he seemed to run off the rails a little bit toward the end of the year, from a run-in at a Bellator event to a rumored encounter with an Irish mob figure to “date night” with a pop music starlet.

That behavior continued into the new year, but McGregor’s actions would ultimately affect more than just himself. During UFC 223 fight week in April, McGregor training partner Artem Lobov was accosted by Nurmagomedov and his entourage at the fighter hotel. That altercation prompted McGregor to hop a plane to New York, and all hell broke loose from there.

When McGregor and his crew arrived at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, they proceeded to launch an all-out assault on a charter bus carrying UFC fighters -- including Nurmagomedov -- and employees. The Irish superstar hurled a dolly through one of the bus windows, injuring scheduled UFC 223 competitors Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg. Chiesa sustained facial lacerations, while Borg suffered a corneal abrasion, forcing both men to withdraw from their bouts. Meanwhile, strawweight queen Rose Namajunas later revealed that she considered pulling out of her title defense after being traumatized by the attack.

McGregor was arrested and faced multiple charges for his actions, but the former UFC champion ultimately reached a plea agreement for a single charge of disorderly conduct, paving the way for him to face Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. Would someone of lesser stature have gotten off so easily? It’s difficult to say for certain, but the most likely answer is no.

It’s even possible to connect McGregor’s actions from that day to the UFC 229 post-fight brawl that occurred after Nurmagomedov jumped out of the Octagon to attack another of the Irishman’s training partners: Dillon Danis. After the melee, Nurmagomedov wondered aloud why McGregor wasn’t vilified for his bus attack the way the Dagestani fighter was for the UFC 229 fracas.

McGregor will have to join his rival before the Nevada Athletic Commission to face discipline for their roles in the brawl; McGregor was seen attempting to climb the cage and taking a swipe at one of Nurmagomedov’s team. It’s more than likely the events of April will be taken into account when determining a punishment for those involved. However, the commission will also no doubt take into consideration the massive gate and record pay-per-view buys a McGregor event can draw. In the long run, it all just becomes fodder for the UFC’s next promotional highlight reel.

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