Ryan Bader: Khabib/Conor Brawl Unsurprising, Sets MMA Back

Bellator heavyweight Ryan Bader expected fireworks at UFC 229, but that doesn't mean he liked them

Ferrall On The Bench
October 29, 2018 - 8:33 am

USA Today Images

In the moment, the brawl was stunning.

In hindsight, perhaps it shouldn’t have been.

“It’s one of those things where they built that into the storyline,” Bellator heavyweight fighter Ryan Bader said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Conor came over, threw the dolly at the bus, and there was animosity, a bunch of talking, the whole thing. They used that for the promos and whatnot. So I don’t think it was a huge surprise when the fight was over. For some people, that’s the show business. ‘All right, we’re done, I was just doing it for the business aspect of it.’ And for other people, that’s personal. I don’t see how that wasn’t expected.”

It was clearly personal for Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0), who celebrated his fourth-round submission win over McGregor by fighting The Notorious One’s camp in the crowd.

“It was kind of unfortunate for Khabib because that was his biggest moment,” Bader said. “He could have got the belt wrapped around his waste, talked some smack in that interview – he could have gotten interviewed and his stock grows that much. But people are going to remember (the brawl). They’re going to remember him jumping over the cage. It’s one of those things where it’ll sell the rematch for sure. But for a lot of mixed martial artists, we don’t want to be portrayed (like that). We’ve always been looked at as a hooligan sport and not really mainstream and all that, and it kind of sets us back a little bit.”

That said, Bader was thoroughly impressed by Nurmagomedov, who, in the words of Scott Ferrall, “kicked McGregor’s ass.”

“Oh, yeah, 100 percent,” Bader said. “(McGregor) came in and I kind of think he knew what he was getting himself into. He definitely was swaggering around, but it wasn’t the same as he usually is. Conor is usually fired up in there, ready to go, and he was just kind of laidback a little bit, maybe a little nervous. Khabib went out there and just did what he does. He smothers you, gets you tired, and makes you want to quit. Then (he finished) him.”