Sports hooligans strike again
The never blinking eyes of television captured pathetic images of sports hooliganism and beamed these around the globe once again over the weekend.
The mayhem that erupted after Khabib Nurmagomedov’s convincing main event victory over Conor McGregor on UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, Manila time, left a bad taste in the mouths of true sports fans.
It followed the moronic and wild brawl three months ago involving Australian and Filipino national players in their Fiba World Cup Qualifying game held at Philippine Arena on the outskirts of Manila.
Many fans have called the ugly scene of Nurmagomedov attacking McGregor’s training partner Dillon Danis and three in Khabib’s camp jumping over the fence to pounce on the still-groggy Irishman a black eye on all big sports organizations, not just the UFC.
But in the fiery business of mixed martial arts, was the Russian and his crew’s actions worse than the NBA’s “Malice at the Palace” incident, when players of the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons at home in the Palace of Auburn Hills figured in the most senseless fight in league history in 2004?
Was it more insane than the night Mike Tyson bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear and getting himself disqualified from a highly charged heavyweight title bout at the MGM Garden Arena in 1997?
UFC President Dana White says he is “disgusted” and predicted that the Nevada Athletic Commission, after holding Nurmagomedov’s purse of $2 million, would impose “significant and wide-ranging sanctions.”
“These guys are in big trouble,” White told reporters in reference to the participants in the carnage. “It is going to be ugly.”
But many skeptics, including MMA columnist Ben Fowlkes, note that White for now cares only “about optics, how it will make his life harder and how it will affect the bottom line.”
Fowlkes says that White “tries to feign disgust and real outrage, but we all know it’s all an act.”
White, in another media interview, refused to rule out the possibility of a rematch between the bitter protagonists.
“We have got to see what happens,” White said while announcing that the UFC has awarded McGregor his initial guaranteed payment of $3 million—excluding pay-per-view percentages.
Tyson, now a sometime television host, said on Twitter: “Watching @TheNotoriousMMA vs @TeamKhabib fight. Unimaginable never thought it would go down like this. Crazier than my fight riot.”
When referee Mills Lane disqualified Tyson in that 1997 fight, a riot ensued as Iron Mike charged Holyfield and his trainer.
As a result, $3 million was withheld from Tyson’s $30 million purse on top of a $3 million fine. He was also banned from boxing for 15 months.
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