UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has apologised for starting a brawl, after defeating Irishman Conor McGregor on Sunday (NZ time).
Moments after McGregor's fourth-round submission, the 30-year-old Russian climbed out of the cage and leapt at McGregor's corner, setting off a prolonged brawl, inside and outside the Octagon in Las Vegas.
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Meanwhile, two men apparently from Nurmagomedov's entourage climbed into the cage and attacked McGregor, who defended himself, before security managed to separate everyone.
Order was restored, with no apparent serious injuries, but the scuffle has tainted one of the biggest and most lucrative shows in UFC history.
Three members of Nurmagomedov's camp were detained and released by police, because McGregor refused to press charges against them.
At the post-fight conference, Nurmagomedov said "sorry" for his actions and explained what prompted him to do what he did.
"First of all, I want to say sorry to Nevada Athletic Commission," said Nurmagomedov, now 27-0 and still the UFC lightweight champion.
"This is not my best side, but [McGregor] talked about my religion, he talks about my father. Why people talk about [how] I [jumped] on the cage?
"He came to Brooklyn and almost killed a couple of people. What about this shit?"
Nurmagomedov also said he received a congratulatory phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"He told me he is very proud of me," Nurmagomedov said.
UFC president Dana White said Nurmagomedov could be stripped of his lightweight title.
"It's just really disgusting and disappointing for me," he said.
"The Nevada State Athletic Commission is going to hand down some type of fine, suspension or whatever's going to happen. That's up to them, we'll see... and then I don't know.
"He's probably going to get stripped, if it's a long suspension."
McGregor tweeted after the fight that he was "looking forward to the rematch".