Months of deeply personal insults and racist abuse towards mixed martial artist Khabib Nurmagomedov resulted in an all out brawl after he submitted his opponent Ireland's Conor McGregor on Saturday.
Nurmagomedov - a devout Muslim from Russia's Dagestan region - climbed out of the cage and leaped onto McGregor's cornermen seconds after he won one of the biggest shows in UFC history.
In a post fight interview, Nurmagomedov apologised for the punch-up and said McGregor's personal insults in the lead-up to the fight were what had egged him on.
"This is not my best side. He talked about my religion, country and father," the fighter said.
He also pointed out McGregor's attack on a bus carrying Nurmagomedov in Brooklyn last April, footage of which was used heavily to promote the bout.
McGregor was arrested after seriously hurting two other fighters with broken glass from the bus attack.
"Why are people talking about me jumping over a cage? My father taught me to respect people. Conor nearly killed two people on that bus," he said.
During the buildup to the much-anticipated clash McGregor repeatedly mocked the ethnic Avar's Islamic faith, at one point mocking him for not drinking whiskey.
The Irishman, who is well-known for his pre-fight trash-talking, also took shots at Nurmagomedov's ethnicity, claiming the Avars were deported from their homeland in the wake of World War II.
He also labeled Nurmagomedov's father a "coward" and his manager Ali Abdelaziz a "snitch terrorist rat".
Reports suggest the Russian wrestling expert went after McGregor's jiu-jitsu coach Dillon Danis in the brawl after he had hurled racist abuse during the fight.
"Danis was absolutely insulting Khabib, saying something to him and provoking him and then Khabib just jumped over the cage and attacked him," commentator Joe Rogan said.
During the post fight brawl, McGregor can be seen throwing punches at one of Nurmagomedov's cornermen before two of them enter the cage to retaliate.
The incident has been widely talked about on social media, with many defending Nurmagomedov's actions.
"Let this be a lesson to everyone in the world... Do not bully someone for months about their religion, values, family, friends, country and culture, then be shocked when they explode," said one Twitter user.
"Two wrongs don't make it right," Nurmagomedov's teammate UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier tweeted after the brawl.
"Conor didn't deserve that. No one did. But some things aren't for fight promotion. Religion, family, country. Throwing stuff in Brooklyn. For Khabib it wasn't fight promotion, it was really personal."
UFC President Dana White has announced that Nurmagomedov's purse has been withheld by the Nevada Athletic Commission pending an investigation.
He said that three members of Nurmagomedov's camp were detained and released by police because McGregor refused to press charges against them.
White also acknowledged the UFC might strip its lightweight title from undefeated Nurmagomedov.
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