Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Conor McGregor didn’t see the worst of UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman’s Twitter account on Saturday night. He missed the profanities, racial slurs and even banking information apparently leaked to the internet.
What McGregor did see was a message before his UFC 246 walk that reminded him of a long-running antagonist, Khabib Nurmagomedov manager Ali Abdelaziz. So he was “skeptical” when informed that Usman’s account was hacked.
“One came through early, and it had all the hallmarks of that little f*cking weasel, Ali,” McGregor said at the UFC 246 press conference, which followed his spectacular 40-second knockout of Donald Cerrone. “They give him control of the accounts; he had (Frankie Edgar’s) account, he had (Henry Cejudo’s) account. This has been going on a while; he gets it and then writes something through their thing. I’ve been in discussion with some of these athletes that come on board and helped them out, and I know exactly what happened.”
Abdelaziz, who’s previously been called out for commandeering his clients’ social media accounts, tweeted on Saturday night that Usman’s account had been compromised. He added UFC staff were “working on getting it back.” He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday morning.
As of Saturday night, it was unclear what had happened to Usman’s account. Had the UFC called Twitter to sort things out?
“That’s probably what I should have done,” UFC President Dana White said at the press conference. “I called Conor. (I said), ‘He got hacked, so don’t say anything, don’t do anything.’”
Complicating that order was Usman and Abdelaziz’s seating at the UFC 246 host venue T-Mobile Arena. The pair were right beside the octagon, leaving ample opportunity for an out-of-cage confrontation. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed.
“He doesn’t believe he got hacked, but we’ve got no problems,” White said.
In the buildup to McGregor’s blockbuster fight with Nurmagomedov, which took place 15 months earlier at the T-Mobile Arena and ended in an all-out melee outside the cage, the Irish star repeatedly took aim at Abdelaziz, accusing him of being a “terrorist snitch” among other slurs. Abdelaziz fired back and revealed in McGregor’s submission loss to the UFC lightweight champ.
The manager has sporadically taken shots at McGregor, in particular throwing cold water on a rematch that White now believes is the fight to make after the former champ-champ’s decimation of Cerrone.
Enjoying his first stoppage win in his third UFC weight class, McGregor took the internet controversy in stride. More important was his new lease on his future after a comeback that silenced all the doubters and put him in position to challenge stars at lightweight and welterweight.
“I don’t think it was Usman,” McGregor said. “I don’t care, man. I actually don’t care. It just had all the hallmarks of your man that’s done it in the past multiple times. … I’ve been dealing with this a long time, so I know exactly what the sauce is, but whatever.”
If Usman or Abdelaziz was the culprit and the goal was to get a fight, McGregor said no problem. Although White has previously pumped the brakes on an extended stay at welterweight, he said he would “shut up” after watching the Irish star’s work.
“I’m more than ready,” McGregor said. “I enjoy this division. I don’t think they’re that big. They’re a bit bigger, right? OK. I think Donald’s bigger than Jorge; I know Jorge has a win over Donald. I think Donald’s as big, and Jorge’s a former lightweight.
“So I don’t know what Dana was saying. So I’d like to see them on the scales right now tonight and see where they’re at. At the end of the day, we’ve got to weigh 170. I feel good at 170. Your man Usman, he’s small enough – 5-8. I’m more than ready for that division. I hold a couple of nice wins.”
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