Conor McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov has broken his silence on the origins of the McGregor/Khabib feud which the Russian fighter was so heavily involved in.
Speaking on ESPN journalist Ariel Helwani’s MMA show, Lobov explained that the animosity between the pair began when the current lightweight champion Khabib starting calling McGregor a “chicken.”
“It might not sound very serious to you guys, but just so you know, ‘chicken’ is one of the biggest insults you can give a man in Russia,” said Lobov, adding that him, McGregor and Nurmagomedov were cool with each other prior to the insults.
“In fact, if you call someone a chicken in Russia, that is a person that gets raped in prison – in male prison. That’s what a chicken is in Russia. And Khabib knows that, and everybody knows that. It is a very, very, severe insult.”
The featherweight fighter went on to explain that he had to respond to Khabib’s chicken insult due to its severity but admitted that his comments to a Russian journalist may have been a bit too harsh.
VIDEO: @RusHammerMMA breaks his silence on the genesis of the Khabib-Conor rivalry, what happened in Brooklyn, the offer he turned down to leave the UFC, 229 and much more. I believe this is the most detailed account of what happened from Team McGregor: https://t.co/TNXnmL995C
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 23, 2018
“Of course, me knowing the severity of this insult, I had to respond in a hard way,” Lobov said. “And I think anybody would’ve done the same. If I didn’t do that, then what kind of friend am I? You know what I mean?
“Of course, my response was pretty harsh, but I spoke facts. I talked about Khabib himself pulling out of fights all the time and the fact that Conor has never pulled out. And I said how could he call him a chicken when he’s the one pulling out all the time but Conor has never pulled out?
“Look, it was a harsh response, but given the situation, I thought it was an appropriate response. And I didn’t see how I could not respond that way. And to be honest, if I was asked 100 times in the same interview the same question, my response would’ve been the same, even knowing what has happened since then.”
The confrontation between Khabib and Lobov which occurred at UFC 223 came directly as a result of this interview as the 32-year-old explained.
“I’m kind of taken aback by all of this,” Lobov said. “… He kept asking me the same thing: ‘Why did you say that?’ And I kept repeating the same thing. I said, ‘Look, you called my brother a chicken. How could I not respond to you? If someone called your brother a chicken, you probably would’ve responded the same way.’
And he just kept saying, ‘None of your business. Why did you call me that?’ Over and over again. And I explained to him, ‘Look, I didn’t say that to you directly. I said that in response to you calling him a chicken.’ And that was it. That’s how that all happened.”
Lobov’s comments were insightful on explaining how and where exactly the feud began, as the confrontation lead to McGregor chartering a private plane and flying over to help his friend and teammate, which of course lead to the now infamous bus incident backstage at the Barclays Centre.
“There was only one good message, from Conor.
“[He wrote] ‘I’m on the way, I’m coming over, and I don’t care what, when, who, why. I don’t give a f**k. You’re my brother and I’m on the way over’.”
And so began one of the most heated feuds in MMA history which despite Khabib’s recent submission victory over McGregor, looks as though it may continue for a long time to come.
Read More About: artem lobov, conor mcgregor, Khabib, ufc 223, ufc 229