Khabib vs McGregor: Russian asked Herb Dean how much UFC paid him to let Conor cheat


Much of the talk during and after Khabib Nurmagomedov’s stunning victory over Conor McGregor in 2018 surrounded referee Herb Dean’s performance and it appears the Russian hasn’t forgotten about it.

Khabib beat ‘Notorious’ at UFC 229 following a fourth-round submission in one of the most high-profile fights of recent years.

The match itself, however, was overshadowed in many ways. First of all, we saw a mass brawl ensue straight after the fight, which shamed and shocked the MMA world. Secondly, was the questionable showing of experienced referee Dean.

Many at the time felt Dean was far too lenient towards McGregor. Several times the Irishman was seen to be breaking the rules with next-to-no punishment or without any reprimand.

Holding Khabib’s shorts and kneeing his opponent in the head whilst on the mat were just some of the fouls Dean let go, with Khabib visibly growing more and more frustrated.

To this day, it seems fans still hold a grudge against Dean, accusing him of cheating or favouritism towards McGregor. It’s a claim that appears Khabib himself agrees with.

Video of Khabib Asking Dean

A recent tweet shows Khabib and his coach meeting Herb Dean backstage and they had a burning question on their mind, although it's not clear when the meeting actually took place.

“How much did you get paid Herb? How much?" asks Khabib’s coach, inferring Dean was bribed beforehand to enable McGregor to win. Although not directly answering THAT particular question, Dean tries to defend himself.

"I was trying to do a good job," he responds. Not the answer Khabib and his team were looking for. 

“Were you well-compensated, though?” the coach is heard asking again. "That’s the thing; I’ve never been well-compensated," Dean replies.

All Is Forgiven

Although the way Khabib’s team interrogated Dean was slightly tongue-in-cheek, it’s clear his display that night still wrangles with Khabib, who lost the first round of his UFC career that night. Khabib, however, has no hard feelings.


“Coach, I forgive him,” Khabib says graciously. Not every UFC fan or Khabib fan will share the same sentiment.

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