Conor McGregor had barely pocketed his cheque when he sent out a tweet so predictable it surely lives year round in his phone as a template.

"Good knock. Looking forward to the rematch."

In terms of entertainment it was a poor replacement for the post-fight press conference, which McGregor somewhat surprisingly swerved this time.

But it moved the narrative along after the post-fight donnybrook, which saw his vanquisher Khabib Nurmagomedov have his own cheque withheld on the instructions of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Hand-wringing over violence outside the octagon might be confined to those unimpressed by the sanctioned violence within, but even fans must now have questions to ask about how the world's largest mixed martial arts promotion goes about its business.

UFC president Dana White condemned McGregor's attack on a bus containing Nurmagomedov and other fighters at the Barclays Centre back in April

"Do you want to be in business with Conor McGregor right now and buy his fights? I don’t think anyone is going to want to [work with him] right now," said White.

Despite McGregor being sentenced to five days community service after pleading guilty to assault and criminal mischief for his part in the bus attack, not only did White see fit to do business with the Dubliner again, the UFC used footage of the attack to promote UFC 229.

At times like this you must have sympathy for MMA fans who have an interest in this sport away from the bluster of McGregor and White

A build-up characterised by criminal acts, religious slurs, questions about the Irish language, personal attacks on family members and colleagues bubbled over as Nurmagomedov vaulted the cage and attacked one of McGregor's training partners while the Russian's associates squared up to a vanquished McGregor inside the cage.

At times like this you must have sympathy for MMA fans who have an interest in this sport away from the bluster of McGregor and White.

The card in Las Vegas began with five knock-outs in the first six bouts and the co-feature delivered as Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis gelled spectacularly, leading to a 10-minute war.

The main event was as one-sided as it was hyped. Nurmagomedov dominating McGregor on the mat and flooring him with an overhand right in the second round. For the second time in his UFC career, McGregor was submitted by a rear naked choke and all hell breaks loose.

That is the problem. The contest was won and won well by the superior fighter, demonstrating many of the key skills of the sport. Unfortunately, there will be very little analysis of the sporting event, because it was immediately proceeded by a spectacle.

White had stood by, smirking, at the pre-fight events as McGregor - allegedly earning $50million for this fight - unleashed racist diatribes, promoted his whiskey and talked about decapitating his opponent.


On Saturday night the UFC president was horrified that Nurmagomedov - the unbeaten fighter whose childhood involved wrestling bears - sought retribution beyond the octagon.

Just as he was horrified when McGregor broke into a UFC event in Brooklyn and threw a handcart at a bus full of athletes on his payroll.

Now McGregor wants a rematch? Those promos will cut themselves.

Perhaps this is the UFC wanted by the fans who picked fights in the concourses of the T-Mobile Arena as the violence spread through the venue, but it is surely damaging to a sport that - on this side of the Atlantic at least - is struggling to gain mainstream recognition.

Put it this way, if McGregor takes another two-year break from the sport or decides to pursue a career in the movies, how many fans will retain an interest in mixed martial arts?

Consuming a sport via storylines works in the short-term but, when the hero departs, will fans pay their subscriptions to watch Anthony Pettis? Fans of the sport will of course, but right now that number is being artificially swollen in these parts by Conor McGregor acolytes.

Fans baulk at the wrestling comparisons but when a fight promoted using footage of a criminal act concludes with further arrests, things are either cynically manipulated or horrifically out of control.

Either way, very few are talking about the four rounds of mixed martial arts.

Still, good knock. Looking forward to the rematch.