Lobov Explains Root Of Conor-Khabib Issues
The issues between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov began with McGregor being called a “chicken” by the current UFC lightweight champion, which is a bigger deal than most believe.
According to an interview with Artem Lobov, who’s confrontation with Nurmagomedov and his team prior to UFC 223, was the flash point for the UFC 223 bus attack, the main event of UFC 229, and the post UFC 229 riot, being called a chicken in Russia is a major insult.
“It might not sound very serious to you guys, but just so you know, ‘chicken’ is one of the biggest insults you can give a man in Russia,” said Lobov, adding that him, McGregor and Nurmagomedov were cool with each other prior to the insults.
“In fact, if you call someone a chicken in Russia, that is a person that gets raped in prison – in male prison. That’s what a chicken is in Russia. And Khabib knows that, and everybody knows that. It is a very, very, severe insult.”
“Of course, me knowing the severity of this insult, I had to respond in a hard way,” Lobov said of insulting Nurmagomedov. “And I think anybody would’ve done the same. If I didn’t do that, then what kind of friend am I? You know what I mean? Of course, my response was pretty harsh, but I spoke facts. I talked about Khabib himself pulling out of fights all the time and the fact that Conor has never pulled out. And I said how could he call him a chicken when he’s the one pulling out all the time but Conor has never pulled out?
“Look, it was a harsh response, but given the situation, I thought it was an appropriate response. And I didn’t see how I could not respond that way. And to be honest, if I was asked 100 times in the same interview the same question, my response would’ve been the same, even knowing what has happened since then.”
Then the initial confrontation would happen at UFC 223 fight week. Even though both men would run into each other at various Russian MMA events, Lobov claims that it would be at the UFC hotel where he’d be confronted by the current UFC lightweight champion. Nurmagomedov was alone. Then he walked away and returned with members of his crew, and that’s when he “got brave.”
“I’m kind of taken aback by all of this,” Lobov said.
“… He kept asking me the same thing: ‘Why did you say that?’ And I kept repeating the same thing. I said, ‘Look, you called my brother a chicken. How could I not respond to you? If someone called your brother a chicken, you probably would’ve responded the same way.’ And he just kept saying, ‘None of your business. Why did you call me that?’ Over and over again. And I explained to him, ‘Look, I didn’t say that to you directly. I said that in response to you calling him a chicken.’ And that was it. That’s how that all happened.”
Initial Report: MMAJunkie