Following UFC 248’s fight for the ages between Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, fans were buzzing. It was nearly impossible to view that strawweight title fight as anything but amazing — but Islam Makhachev, UFC lightweight and compatriot of Khabib Nurmagomedov, managed to find a way to be negative.
“This is not a woman’s sport,” Makhachev tweeted out after the fight. The now-viral comment was later deleted, but nothing is ever truly deleted from the internet. Fans had a field day with the blatantly sexist post coming in the wake of a fight that is an early contender for Fight of the Year, male or female.
It’s not the most surprising comment, given its source. Makhachev is one of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s crew. Nurmagomedov, in the past, has openly suggested that women should not aspire to be UFC fighters.
The timing of the tweet, however, was a particularly bad look. Especially given it came immediately following an instant classic, and ahead of the Dagestani fighter’s bout against Alexander Hernandez at UFC 249.
It was enough to get Conor McGregor, always an opportunistic tweeter, into the fray.
“An absolute cretin. A Convicted Steroid cheat that will do anything to avoid impact and stall a fight, and then talks down on one of the greatest exchanges of combat ever produced by our female combatants,” McGregor wrote on his own twitter account, referencing the post. “These little gremlins! It’s back on. Filthy rats. Shame on the game.”
An absolute cretin. A Convicted Steroid cheat that will do anything to avoid impact and stall a fight, and then talks down on one of the greatest exchanges of combat ever produced by our female combatants.
These little gremlins! It’s back on. Filthy rats.
Shame on the game. https://t.co/JddPD4pio7
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) March 8, 2020
McGregor returned to action earlier this year, at UFC 246 in January, where he earned a quick finish of Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. He has also reportedly been involved in a pair of sexual assault investigations in his native Ireland — though he has yet to be formally charged of any crime.
Makhachev (18-1) failed a drug test for meldonium in 2016, however his suspension was lifted by USADA.
Nurmagomedov’s camp and McGregor’s, of course, have a long history, one that came to a head at UFC 229 in October 2018. There, after submitting McGregor in the main event, Nurmagomedov flew out of the octagon to attack his corner, sparking a near-riot. That followed an incident at UFC 223, where McGregor and his own group attacked a bus housing Nurmagomedov and members of his team.