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Khabib Nurmagomedov’s longtime coach Javier Mendez has a theory why Conor McGregor crossed the line in a later-deleted tweet about Nurmagomedov’s dead father.
Mendez speculated that McGregor’s verbal attack against his undefeated rival may relate to a feeling of diminishing power in the world of MMA.
“He’s got all the money,” Mendez said on the Real Quick with Mike Swick video podcast. “But he doesn’t have the one thing he used to have: The respect of the whole world as a fighter. Maybe he’s angry because he doesn’t have that anymore. I just know he should have never texted those words, ever.”
McGregor’s tweet drew widespread condemnation from the MMA world, though its target was considerably more measured about the situation. Nurmagomedov simply chalked McGregor’s words up to an evil that revealed the character of the person who wrote it.
To Mendez, the head coach of the American Kickboxing Academy where Nurmagomedov honed his skills, it was about much more than that.
“Who should like him for a comment like that?” he said. “How many people do you know, lost their family, lost their business, lost everything because of COVID, and you make fun of it? You say COVID good, father evil? Are you kidding me?
“So you’re saying to all those poor people that lost their family, lost their business, people that committed suicide over this tragedy that’s happened to the whole world, and you think you’re making a mockery of it by trying attack someone’s father by using that? You’re an idiot. You are an idiot. … It’s just another knife to dig in people’s hearts. He’s an idiot. He’s flat out an idiot, and he’s out of control. I’m sorry. …
“And this has nothing to do with Khabib’s father. This has nothing to do with those comments on COVID. We already know what he thinks on Khabib. That’s fine. But you make a comment like that, all the money in the world isn’t going to allow you to get away with some of the stupid things you say.”
Where Mendez agreed with his longtime charge is that the problem stemmed from a lack of guidance from McGregor’s camp. The coach was less sure about what could actually be done about it.
“He’s been saying a lot of stupid things, and it’s obvious to me that his coaches, which I think they’re good guys, can’t control him,” Mendez said. “And what do you do if you have a guy like that? He’s your money cow.”
Although Mendez’s respect for the fighters and coaches around the former two-division UFC champ remains strong, he has lost all of his respect for McGregor. Before, he said, he might not like McGregor, but he admired his skills and would watch him fight.
Check out the interview below.