Khabib Joked With UFC Referee Herb Dean Over Letting Conor McGregor 'Cheat' In Title Fight

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Khabib Nurmagomedov and his team jokingly asked Herb Dean how much he was paid to allow Conor McGregor's cheating antics at UFC 229.

Khabib defended his lightweight title by forcing bitter rival McGregor to tap out to a neck crack in the fourth round of the bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

However, the Dagestani fighter was extremely angry that he lost one of only two rounds in his perfect career, against McGregor - as the judges gave the third round to the Irishman.

'The Notorious' fighter produced a plethora of illegal strikes that went unpunished, grabbed Khabib's hands and held onto the cage, while Dean was heard shouting "don't grab the shorts" at one point.

Years on from the 2018 encounter, it still irks Khabib. During a meeting with Dean backstage at a UFC event, 'The Eagle asked: "Coach, how much do you think they paid him?" - to which his coach replied: "I don't know; Herb, how much?"

Dean said: "I was trying to do a good job."

The coach continued, asking: "Were you well-compensated, though?"

Dean, who was 2-3 in MMA before he became an official, replied: "That's the thing; I've never been well-compensated."

Khabib finished by saying, "Coach, it's okay I forgive him".

In October 2020, two years on from the Las Vegas bout, McGregor was boasting about his illegal knee strike to Khabib and said the maneuver should be 'legalised'.

With what happened in the build-up to the fight, and the explosive aftermath, there's still very much huge animosity between both men.

Josh Lawless

Josh is a sports journalist who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.
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