Who Hit Conor McGregor at UFC 229?

The controversial UFC 229 fight between reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and MMA superstar Conor McGregor was held on October 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with the eventual bout result reflecting the odds fairly well. Nurmagomedov was a slight favorite over the world-famous Irish striker.

What was completely unexpected was the reaction of the winner. The self-proclaimed humble man from Dagestan erupted in anger after tapping out McGregor. He threw his mouthguard, spat, and headed straight towards the cage, which he then vaulted over before anyone could react. His target? McGregor training partner Dillon Danis, himself a mixed-martial artist.

Khabib’s flying dropkick landed flat and Danis was able to fight back against the assault, before security dragged away the by-then cowering Khabib to safety.

Khabib quivering coward
Quivering coward Khabib

As everyone was settling down, with a few quickly remembering how Conor Macgregor may have done something similar in the past, attention quickly shifted to what was happening inside the octagon.

Immediately after Khabib’s jump, his cousin Abubakr, who was inside the cage, proceeded to climb over the fence. At almost the same time next to him, Conor was also scaling the wire barrier to get to his team mate. Conor perceived the threat and hit Abubakr before officials could reach them.

Two of Khabib’s team mates subsequently parkoured over to inside the cage. Wearing a black shirt, UFC fighter Zubaira Tukhugov approached McGregor from the side and let go of a punch. The Dubliner was quick enough to see it; his counter connected before Tukhogov’s. From behind, a red-shirted Asadulla Emiragaev began hitting McGregor.

Khabib’s red-shirted crew in the crowd

Initially, the media reported the red shirt as Islam Makhachev due to their physical similarity. Makhachev, however, was wearing a black shirt that night.

Who hit Conor?
Esedulla Emiragaev and Islam Makhachev

Esadulla Emiragaev (Эседулла Эмирагаев ) is a childhood friend of Khabib and is a competitive Sambo fighter himself.

To the embarrassment of Russia and his Muslim fans around the globe, Nurmagomedov’s successful defense was massively overshadowed by the post-fight action he instigated. Nevada’s governor Brian Sandoval, who was in attendance, had to be evacuated by security.

For the trouble, Khabib’s prize money of $2 million has been withheld by the Nevada State Athletic Commission pending a formal investigation into what transpired. Khabib’s fighting license and visa renewal are also in jeopardy, with a suspension from fighting in the UFC likely.

Esedulla Emiragayev
Image circulated by Khabib’s friends post-fight

Update: On October 10, Эмирагаев Эседулла / Emiragayev Esedulla was spotted in Moscow. A few days later, he flew to Bahrain, where he remains as of mid-November.