McGregor v Nurmagomedov evidenced UFC is proud to scratch the barrel | Josh Gross

Saturday darkness contended was born to the tone of bird-dog whistles. UFC have been told 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 lobby of his London hotel. It was the summer of 2002 and the UFC president was frantic for bulletin about a late-night dust-up outside the luxuriou 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 knew that his efforts to recast the UFC as something the public could espouse was vulnerable enough that reports of the UFC’s most popular figures rioting in the streets might imperil his business.

But nothing happened.

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

Whatever the reason, the people in charge of selling the UFC resolved then as they have since: they can get away with circumstances more established athletics entities can not.

White’s company- determined by ordeals that indicate” anything runs” is” business as usual”- is molded by the idea that negative headlines tend to produce positive returns at the box office. This year has provided more than enough proof.

In April, the more popular mixed martial artist ever, Conor McGregor, entered a loading dock in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with destructive aims, going so far as to flung a metal handcart through a bus space. It transmitted shards of glass into the faces of UFC soldiers, executives and innocent onlookers. McGregor’s intention was to get at Khabib Nurmagomedov, the unbeaten Dagestani lightweight who seemed a mausoleum menace to the Irishman’s realized predominance inside the octagon.

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McGregor marauded with his friends but they failed in their operation. White called it the most disgusting are active in its own 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 plea deal and espousing a treasure trove of footage featuring the wild-eyed McGregor as part of its marketings rob for UFC 229, which White said boosted his expectations that the happen would reel-in the biggest pay-per-view buy rate in the history of the promotion.

Before and after Saturday’s fight in Las Vegas, White touched off questions about the implications of playing up the criminal demeanor as part of the storyline, but behind the scenes concerns about confrontations between the fighters’ teams induced an increased police spirit around the enclosure. Joins between UFC officials and the camps about their impart in the realm took place only a pair hours prior to Nurmagomedov and McGregor meeting in the Octagon.

While White was personally bothered by the actions of his fighters inside a packed arena — consider all the work that has gone into acquiring the UFC something parties all over the world care about — he seemed uninterested in investigate whether the mode the fight was helped helped ensure its ugly conclusion.

Conor McGregor gestures at Khabib Nurmagomedov before their bout. Photograph: Brandon Magnus/ Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

White did as he’s always done by appearing inconsistent. The UFC fighters who attacked McGregor after the contest would never oppose in his promotion again he said. But he failed to specify beatings for McGregor and Nurmagomedov, the two men everything centered around. For them White relied on a familiar defence: this is the fight game, where sharp words are uttered, irritations flare, and, packed the right way, fund is made.

Nurmagomedov v McGregor was setu-p as the most difficult engage in UFC history because it checked all the boxes — sporting relevant, vast temperaments, pop culture implication, sincere antipathy — and featured boxers who off-load hound whistles that fuelled tensions between the Irish and Russian fans.

After McGregor’s dalliance with Floyd Mayweather Jr, Mystic Mac’s world plea attained people pay attention to the UFC like ever been. This is how 20,034 followers packed T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and yielded a live gate of over $17 m.

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

Unlike in 2002, when few people give attention, UFC struggles play out in a meaningful culture stratosphere in 2018 yet its hustlers still pay no mind to the impact. UFC remains superb though at picking the lowest hanging return, which factored into the struggle 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 climbing over the cage to attack the Irish fighter’s corner. Rather than taking part in one of the most important boasting nights in UFC history, UFC 229 went to a place where answers stuff lower than the sight they inspire.

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

Instead, White once again played like a follower concerned by his soldiers’ antics. But one suspects when he scrutinizes the revenues from UFC 229- and thinks about the money to be generated from a rematch- he won’t be bothered at all.

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