An Irishman’s Open Letter to Khabib Nurmagomedov

Dear Khabib,

Heartiest congratulations on your victory last Saturday night. There is no doubt that the better man won on the night (or 6:30 am Irish time to be exact). You may be surprised to know that you have quite a few fans in Ireland and some of your phrases are passing quite nicely into the Lexicon of great MMA quotes.  ‘This is Number 1 Bullshit’  –  is my personal favourite but there are many more. Wrestling bears as a 4 year old and your frequent comments about ‘smerching’ (smashing) opponents are all quite endearing to us.

Your choice in headwear won’t have any of the great fashion houses of the world signing you up as a brand ambassador anytime soon but it’s all part of the charm isn’t it?.  What I’m saying really is you’d make a damn great Irishman if it wasn’t for the Dagestani thing.

As you wake up this morning you are probably quite relieved that the Conor McGregor experience is over. And by experience I don’t mean the fighting part. Like an American election that promises no negative campaigning this rarely is ever the case when the McGregor spotlight is unleashed. Increasingly it leaves a bad taste in both camps mouths.

Now that the dust is settling , I think there are a couple of things you should reflect on, as you await the Nevada State Athletic commission to release your 2 million bucks. None of these things have anything to do with MMA –  sure you’re in no need of any advice there.

You were quite irate at the end of the fight in the T-Mobile arena on Oct 6, and to be fair there is probably some justification for it too.  Obviously leaping Karate style from the Octogan in the general direction of Dillon Danis’ head wasn’t the brightest thing you have ever done but to a degree I can understand it. I only have one issue really with your behaviour and it has to do with something you said in your post fight press conference.

‘’You cannot talk about Religion, You cannot talk about nation…You know…you cannot talk about this stuff’’

 Perhaps you were trying to make a different point but I think that all the pre-fight chatter first from McGregor and then in turn by journalists and bloggers about Religion, nationhood and your manager being a terrorist is the real source of the fire in your belly. It needs to be said though that it is absolutely right for journalists to talk about and question you on Religion or Nation or whatever they want. I would hope that it is done in a much more respectful manner in future of course.

You are a proud Muslim and it is to be respected. A lot of the MMA world is not though and free speech and the right to question is a fundamental part of what any functioning democracy strives to build.  In short you don’t get to decide what is appropriate to be asked. You will be asked these questions in the future and you will need to learn how to answer them.

I see a lot of commentary in the last couple of days  congratulating you for not letting Conor McGregor get into your head. On the contrary I would say that you let Conor McGregor into your head and encouraged him to have a good walk around. The unfortunate thing for him is that, in the end , it merely served to whet your appetite and he found it as debilitating as the Neck Crank that ended his night.

All of the Hullabaloo from the fight and it’s immediate aftermath will undoubtedly increase the financial imperative that the UFC set up a rematch. You would do well to reflect that while Conor McGregor is much easier to wrestle than the average Dagestani Bear it’s also much less fun.

Mise le Meas,

Gerry O’Neill

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5 thoughts on “An Irishman’s Open Letter to Khabib Nurmagomedov

  1. One quick point. Khabib wasn’t calling for there to be no dialogue or questions about the faith of Islam, but rather not to be disrespectful in doing so. There are respectful and disrespectful ways to go about questioning or inquiring about Islam or any faith and non-faith. Also, the disrespect was also directed towards his family and his command of the English language (his 3rd or 4th language). The fact that I’m having to point these things out shows that there’s a double standard within the media and rhetoric of elements within most Western democracies that intentionally or unintentionally mislabeled two identical Spades as being apples and bananas. Lack of critical thinking of the masses within these societies allows for certain minority few to misconstrue the reality of many events from being seen in their true light. Did khabib act in a way that it was outside of his character and blameworthy, yes. Did Conor McGregor also act in a manner that was far greater in it’s blameworthiness, clearly. Did they both get treated the according 2 the degree of misconduct…no.

  2. Just look at how Corbyn is treated, any comment against Israel foreign policy is treated as anti-semtic, and it is just NOT ALLOWED. The double standard is clear to see, once you put down this mornings newspaper.

  3. Imagine repeatedly hurling openly racist abuse using the n-word and horrific historical slavery-related rhetoric (“subhuman species”) at black fighters in the US to promote fights and entertain. And then go after their say gay family members and call them f-g and d-suckers as your trash talk. And see what happens and how all of us will react and how quickly it will be shut down and everyone will be apologizing for it forever like Conor already did in the past for using “f-g”. Nobody will care about “free speech” and nobody will say “it is just trash talk”. What Conor said to Khabib is the same in his world and everyone cheered like it was the best thing ever. There is a line. And not only our line that has to be respected. And Khabib just made everyone think about it. You can’t repeatedly abuse people for fun and money and tell them that they cannot react to it. There still will be more than enough room for the nastiest trash talk without that bs.

  4. I enjoyed reading your comment Borg…I would agree… A few people mentioned thoughts along the same lines. The free speech section was not in reference to what Conor Mcgregor was saying about Khabib…There are laws against racial , religious and bigoted comment in any society…as there should be. If he has a case to answer on what he was saying he should be held to account just like anyone else…I would point out ‘Not everyone Cheered’ i certainly didn’t as an Irishman. I have written previously in the run up to Mayweather / McGregor that his use of the word ‘boy’ in the context of what he was saying at a press conference was a racial slur. There is a line as the commentator pointed out but I hear icy silence from Journalists when controversial comment is made. who bear in mind should be one of the guardians of free speech. Whether it is sport or Politics there are more clicks to be made from highlighting the comment than analyzing the content of it and holding the speaker of those words to account. I did also highlight the word respect of the others view in this regard. whether that again is in religion, politics or sporting football teams!

  5. You don’t need to point them to me ! – I get it . McGregor can and should be held to account for his words. The reason he is not being held to account in the same way is primarily due to his financial value to the UFC rather than anything to do with his race or religion or way of life…Now that is just my opinion…regardless this is wrong and I don’t condone it for whatever reason.

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