It appears Khabib Nurmagomedov has an unlikely ally in the aftermath of his title defense match against Conor McGregor on Saturday night, when he jumped into the crowd after submitting the Irishman.
McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh was cageside and right in the thick of the action when Nurmagomdeov leapt over the fence and jumped over Kavanagh to attack grappling star and Bellator fighter Dillon Danis, who has helped McGregor prepare for his last several fights.
On Monday, Kavanagh was a guest on “The Joe Rogan Experience” and despite the severity of the incident, expressed his hope that the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Nevada Athletic Commission don’t come down too hard on the champion.
“I hope they’re lenient on him and not just so we can get a rematch,” Kavanagh said. “I love watching him fight for a start and I can stretch myself to understand his reaction. I can’t stretch myself to understand the other guy’s reactions and what they did [going after Conor].
“For Khabib he jumped over the cage and he jumped someone. It’s not the end of the world. It wasn’t that big a deal to me what Khabib did,” Kavanagh added. “It just really wasn’t.”
Despite Kavanagh’s view on the situation, the commission plans to file grievances against both fighters for the melee.
While Nurmagomedov instigated the melee by jumping into the crowd, footage also appears to show McGregor hitting one of Nurmagomedov’s team on top of the cage. McGregor then had to defend himself as two more assailants entered the Octagon to confront him. One of the attackers was UFC featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov, who subsequently posted video of himself striking McGregor and whose career inside the Octagon may now be over, as UFC President Dana White stated that any UFC fighters arrested would be released from the promotion.