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08th Jan 2017

How an argument over Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov almost ended in murder

A heated debate.

Darragh Murphy

We’ve all had a passionate discussion about how we feel an upcoming or completely hypothetical fight would play out.

The debate typically escalates to name-calling but almost always stops short of a murder attempt.

But that wasn’t the case in Russia over the holidays when the dispute went way, way too far.

The incident began in a Moscow nightclub on December 16, when Dublin-based UFC fighter Artem Lobov travelled to his native Russia with Straight Blast Gym teammate Peter Queally and met with UFC flyweight Ali Bagautinov and Russian veteran Rasul Mirzaev for an evening out.

It was on that evening that that group were approached by a number of men who, aware of the allegiances of Lobov and Queally to reigning UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, brought up the suggestion that ‘The Notorious’ was ducking undefeated Russian 155lber Khabib Nurmagomedov.

There was no real violence on the night, apart from a scuffle that broke out between the approaching group and Mirzaev, but things got much more concerning a fortnight later when Mirzaev was shot and almost beaten to death.

On New Year’s Eve, Mirzaev was left bloodied, battered and fighting for his life in an attack in his apartment which was perpetrated by three men, one of whom a Bloody Elbow report suggests was involved in the initial altercation two weeks earlier.

Mirzaev was declared in stable condition after having the bullets removed from his body and SBG’s Lobov has since detailed his version of the initial meeting with the Dagestanis.

“On 16th of December Rasul [Mirzaev] and Ali [Bagautinov] took me and Peter to a night club in Moscow,” Lobov told Bloody Elbow.

“There I was approached by a few Dagestani males, they were quite friendly towards me and just wanted to say that they respect the fact that I support Conor as we came up together, despite the fact that Khabib is Russian.

“While we were talking, one of Rasul’s friends and one of the Dagestani males started to get verbally aggressive with each other (not really sure what the reason was), however nothing really happened there as myself and Rasul very quickly stopped the incident from escalating and we all got on with our night.

“As far as I was concerned nothing else happened and I didn’t even pay much attention to this incident as it was very minor and that is why I gave you my initial statement.

“However I was later informed that at some point later that night Rasul was going to the bathroom and one of those Dagestani males punched him in the back of the head, Rasul started defending himself but everything was broken up by security.

“When I asked why no one said anything to me about this, I was told that the guys wanted me to enjoy our night and didn’t say anything as anyway it wasn’t that serious. This is what led to the attack on Rasul at the end of the year.”