Dubai: Even as the authorities are moving fast to restrain the ugly Twitter war between two-weight former UFC champion Conor McGregor and reigning king of the octagon, Khabib Nurmagomedov, the Irish fighter has attempted to tacitly defend his rants that triggered the war of words.
McGregor, who only last week shocked the world by retiring from the sport after a 25-fight career, has attracted the wrath of millions after posting a tweet, with pictures, that insults Nurmagomedov’s wife and her faith.
The messages were labelled on social media as “racist” and “Islamophobic”, as Nurmagomedov and his wife are Muslim.
UFC president Dana White stepped in, saying the Twitter exchange had reached an “unacceptable” level, and that the “necessary steps were being taken”.
“The ongoing situation has escalated to a level that is unacceptable,” White said. “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.”
There’s bad blood between the fighters ever since Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor last October at UFC 229, in a lightweight contest that is believed to be the biggest and richest in the sport’s 25-year history with pay-per-view figures crossing the $3 million mark.
As the world reacted to McGregor’s latest shameful episode, the volatile Irishman tried to defuse the situation saying: “I want to move forward, with my fans of all faiths and all backgrounds.
“All faiths challenge us to be our best selves. It is one world and one for all.”
McGregor even suggested that his retirement should not be taken seriously: “Now see you in the Octagon.”
The UFC is an American mixed martial arts promotion company based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It is the largest MMA promotion company in the world and features the highest-level fighters on the roster.
The UFC has visited 15 countries in Asia, Europe, Oceania, South America, and North America.
It’s two visits to the UAE were in 2010 for UFC 112 and the second in 2014 for UFC Fight Night: Nogueira v Nelson.
The UFC also boasts a celebrity list of shareholders among them actor Sylvester Stallone, Mark Wahlberg and Ben Affleck, musicians Calvin Harris and LL Cool J, talk-show hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien, and tennis stars Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.