McGregor v Nurmagomedov showed UFC is happy to scrape the barrel | Josh Gross

Saturday nights opposed was born to the reverberate of puppy whistlings. UFC has learned that negative headlines tend to produce positive returns at the box office

Hours after the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s initial foray into the UK for an historic card at the Royal Albert Hall, an ashen-faced Dana White stood in the foyer of his London hotel. It was the summer of 2002 and the UFC president was hopeless for information about a late-night dust-up outside the ritzy nightclub Chinawhite that involved some of his best known fighters.

White was a novice promoter at that point, a year and a half on the job. His is aware of the fact that his efforts to recast the UFC as something the general public could embrace was fragile enough that reports of the UFC’s most popular identifies melee in wall street might peril his business.

But nothing happened.

Perhaps the UFC was easy to ignore at the time. Newspaper editors and television services and facilities farmers couldn’t have cared little about the advertising or what its brand-new ownership group had set out to accomplish. Perhaps cage-fighting was considered low-brow enough to remain in the shadows forever , no matter how many dollars the company’s nascent ownership group was willing to invest , no matter how intrepid some of the fighters were , no matter how significant the arc of mixed-style engagement actually was.

Whatever the reason, the people in charge of marketing the UFC agreed then as they have since: they can get away with occasions more established boasts entities can not.

White’s company- determined by suffers that picture” anything goes” is” business as usual”- is molded by the notion that negative headlines tend to produce positive returns at the box office. This time has provided more than enough proof.

In April, the most popular mixed martial artist ever, Conor McGregor, penetrated a loading dock in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with damaging planneds, going so far as to hurled a metal handcart through a bus window. It transmitted shards of glass into the faces of UFC boxers, executives and innocent observers. McGregor’s intention was to get at Khabib Nurmagomedov, the unbeaten Dagestani lightweight who gazed a tomb threat to the Irishman’s comprehended predominance within the octagon.

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McGregor marauded with his acquaintances but they failed in their operation. White announced it the most disgusting act in the history of the company. That was before the UFC shrugged off the incident by deferring to criminal proceedings in New York that ended in a request cope and espousing a treasure trove of footage featuring the wild-eyed McGregor as part of its sales hook for UFC 229, which White said boosted his our hope that the incident would reel-in the biggest pay-per-view buy proportion in its own history of the promotion.

Before and after Saturday’s fight in Las Vegas, White touched off questions about the impact of playing up criminal matters action as part of the storyline, but behind the scenes concerns about clanks between the fighters’ squads caused an increased police existence around the enclosure. Meets between UFC officials and the cliques about their behaviour in the realm took place only a duet hours prior to Nurmagomedov and McGregor meeting in the Octagon.

While White was personally riled by the actions of his boxers inside a jam-packed arena — consider all the effort that has gone into shaping the UFC something beings all over the world care about — he seemed uninterested in investigate whether the behavior the fight was promoted facilitated ensure its ugly conclusion.

Conor McGregor gesticulates at Khabib Nurmagomedov before their contest. Picture: Brandon Magnus/ Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

White did as he’s always done by appearing inconsistent. The UFC soldiers who criticized McGregor after the bout would never fight in his advertisement again he said. But he failed to specify punishments for McGregor and Nurmagomedov, the two men everything centered around. For them White relied on a familiar reason: this is the fight game, where sharp words are voiced, humours flare, and, boxed the right way, coin is made.

Nurmagomedov v McGregor was setu-p as the biggest combat in UFC history because it checked all the boxes — boasting relevance, immense personalities, pop culture implication, genuine acrimony — and featured soldiers who unloaded bird-dog whistles that rekindled tensions between the Irish and Russian fans.

After McGregor’s dalliance with Floyd Mayweather Jr, Mystic Mac’s world entreaty manufactured people pay attention to the UFC like never before. This is how 20,034 love carried T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and yielded a live gate of over $17 m.

If precedent didn’t show otherwise, UFC 229 would appear to be the tipping point that relegates MMA to secondary status in the sports world. On a darknes McGregor could have gone from Mystic to Mythic he misfired. Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov, who touted boast and respect above spectacle and scum talk, pictured otherwise.

Unlike in 2002, when few people given attention, UFC races play out in a meaningful cultural stratosphere in 2018 yet its hustlers still pay no mind to the impact. UFC remains superb though at picking the lowest hanging fruit, which factored into the antagonism between Nurmagomedov and McGregor pouring out from the cage into the stands and, in several instances, onto concourses.

The undefeated Nurmagomedov, fresh off his fourth-round submission of McGregor, was forced to apologize for clambering over the enclosure to criticize the Irish fighter’s corner. Rather than taking part in one of the most important sporting nighttimes in UFC history, UFC 229 went to a situate where outcomes stuff lower than the spectacle they inspire.

The night should have ended with McGregor vanquished, licking his curves, envisaging what being exposed by Nurmagomedov meant for his honour and chart. And with Nurmagomedov, proud son of Dagestan, locking the spire of MMA for himself.

Instead, White once again acted like a humankind concerned by his soldiers’ antics. But one suspects where reference is inspects the revenues from UFC 229- and thinks about the money to be generated from a rematch- he won’t be inconvenienced at all.

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