BYU-Hawaii’s Mixed Martial Arts Club hosted the live broadcast of the Ultimate Fighting Championship title fight between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Taking place in the Little Theatre, students attending BYUH and McGregor fans watched the live event, dismayed as they witnessed the fighter succumb to a grappling match with Khabib.
As part of the MMA club and wanting to introduce what the UFC is about to students, Slade Jones, a junior from Utah majoring in business management said, “The little theater was just the most convenient place for everyone to have a chance to see the pay per view event. It’s expensive to watch and I wanted everyone to have a chance to enjoy the sport and come to know it like I do.”
The live event attracted a full house at the Little Theatre. Students and community members even sat on the aisle running down the middle of the theatre and up on the stage. The MMA club even purchased stacks of pizza for attendees to enjoy. Attendees had watched preliminary matches before the title fight.
Not being initially excited for the fight, TJ Teikauea, a freshman from Tuvalu studying business said, “I thought McGregor would easily win. My eyes were wide opened when I saw Mcgregor taking hits. I mostly liked Khabib's determination to win, and I could tell that he made sure that he would give his opponent a good round of whoopin’.”
Jones, being a McGregor fan, said “I was torn on the title fight. I root for McGregor and I support him over Khabib mainly just because of the fact that I’ve been following his underdog story for a while.”
As the fight progressed to the later rounds, Khabib began to control fight by grappling with McGregor. Jones said “Almost every fight ends in a grapple on the ground. In every scenario Khabib wins that case. I knew if Mcgregor couldn’t win the striking game in the first couple rounds he wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pressure in the grapple.”
Jordan Richards, a sophomore from New Zealand majoring in business management, also thought McGregor would win. He said, “Going in, I thought Conor would win the fight if they were both standing up. Khabib would win if the fight went to the ground. I started watching Khabib’s highlights and thought he was pretty good. Khabib did his best by pinning Conor down.”
Thinking it would be a great tribute to MMA, Jones thinks a rematch could happen if the two fighters could work out differences like trash talking. He said, “It would also be in both competitors best interest, monetarily, to have a rematch especially with the story and press coverage they’ve got going right now.”
Wanting to further educate students about the UFC and martial arts, Jones started the MMA club. According to Jones, he said he believes too many people have misconceptions about what UFC or what MMA is really about. He said, “Too many uncultured people think it’s just a bunch of meat heads bashing each other’s faces in. Those who haven’t experienced it won’t really understand the depth of the brotherhood or self mastery involved in this great discipline.”