Dear diary: What the hell did I just watch?

On 19 January 2019 UFC Lightweight Champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov stepped onto a Sydney stage.

The Dagestani fighter was in town for an event dedicated to the story of his journey so far during a live Q&A session.

This was his first time and Sydney and it was billed as a night to remember and it was… For all the wrong reasons.

This is not a dis against Khabib who was humble, well-spoken and the few chances he had to actually talk about stuff he was funny and insightful.

After documenting the events of the night immediately after the fact on the train home, the rest of the night was spent sleeping on what had been written – for a clearer more objective second draft the next day.

The event held at Quay Centre was promoted as an unforgettable experience in a good way but as a whole it was pretty shit for the following reasons:

-It started half an hour later than advertised but still finished at round the scheduled time of 9pm. Just on principle, the audience payed for two hours of show time so two hours of show time should be given.

-The person who seemed to be the main co-host, of which there were two, couldn’t  pronounce Khabib’s last name so just kept referring to him as “Khabib the Eagle”. The way “Nurmagomedov” is pronounced in English speaking media really isn’t that hard to say, sound it out like you’re learning to read again if you have to. The cheapest tickets you could get were $100 and VIP tickets were $990 not including the booking fee, you owe it to every audience member in the room to at least be able to say his name.

-The main co-host got Khabib’s record wrong during the introduction and said he was 29-0. Buddy, you have a smart phone. It takes you two minutes to do a quick Google search of the guy who this whole night is centred around. It’s 27…. His record is 27 and 0.

-He was hardly asked about MMA at all. The conversation did not go in depth about his training regime or even who his favourite fighters are, who he thinks his toughest opponent has been, the evolution of his fighting style, grappling or anything like that. They spent more time thanking the sponsors than they did talking about fighting at an event centred on the UFC lightweight champion of the world.

-Halfway through the night the host called up Sonny Bill Williams. Like…why??? Who cares about Sonny Bill Williams or his short lived boxing career? The intro montage they played of Williams seemed to be longer than Khabib’s and then the host spent a painful amount of time interviewing Sonny Bill. Khabib was respectful (because of course the was) and tried to be interested but from this onlooker’s perspective it was out of place.

-The editing job they did on the montages were not to a professional standard.

-Islam Makhachev was out there for maybe 10 minutes and was not asked many meaningful questions as the rest of his stage time was spent was used talking to the organiser about how he first met Islam and Khabib and how this night came to fruition. Is this not something you’d put in the “about” section of the event website? Not a full discussion with the organiser on stage while your talent is sitting there doing nothing? To the organisers and hosts, it’s not about you.

-Islam and Khabib came out separately. Why not bring them out together? Or one after the other then keep them both up there? You already planned not to really ask either of them any questions with substance anyway.

-Khabib made a joke about fighting a kangaroo to get better at striking and they bought out someone wearing a dodgy kangaroo costume. It was OTT cringe; people were leaving before the event was over.

-The whole thing just felt wrong. They should’ve just held it at a gym like a damn seminar and everyone comes, maybe you do a warm up and some drills then just let Khabib talk.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT:

The other co-host and an audience member asked Khabib if they could go to Africa with him and help him do charity work or donate to his cause.

This is not verbatim but Khabib in his heavy accent replied: Why you want to go to Africa? They don’t live a good life there. They have no iPhone no nothing. If you want to help people I send you location and you go help people. You want to hang out with me that’s a different thing.

That’s probably one day of the best mic drops I’ve ever seen in my life.

He comes across as a super humble no bullshit kinda person, I enjoyed listening to him for the little that he did say.

A discussion thread on Reddit indicates that his following Melbourne show had much more meaty and valuable discussion.

That’s definitely is good news if not a little jealousy inducing for Sydney fans but now that the dust has settled it is this audience member’s opinion that Khabib Sydney was a train wreck.

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