In the lead up to Khabib Nurmagomedov's lightweight title defence against Conor McGregor at UFC229, McGregor insulted the Russian's family, country, and religion – going beyond promoting the fight to get under Nurmagomedov's skin.
Before the fight had even been announced, McGregor and his team attacked a coach carrying Nurmagomedov and other UFC fighters which led to an injury to fellow lightweight Michael Chiesa.
Kiwi lightweight Dan Hooker said he felt like McGregor crossed the line, so when Nurmagomedov launched himself out of the octagon at the Irishman's team after making McGregor tap out, it shouldn't be blown out of proportion.
"It's a physical game, you can't expect that physicality and mentality to be, in an instant, flicked over. It's very hard to draw a line," Hooker said.
"A lot of things were said. I feel like McGregor crossed the line beyond just promoting the fight. Things were said, he's not mad about what happened. I think people are just getting a bit carried away."
After mauling McGregor and claiming a fourth-round win to remain unbeaten in 27 bouts, Nurmagomedov appeared to react to something said in McGregor's corner. When he jumped over the octagon, McGregor chased him but was stopped by security. Footage showed McGregor taking a few shots at one of the Russian's team members on the cage, before a number of men jumped in and started taking shots at McGregor. Three men were detained for attacking McGregor, but he refused to press charges.
"It's not the same as what McGregor did. McGregor was using objects and throwing weapons and he hurt people outside of it, whereas I feel like Khabib and his mates, they just threw a couple punches. I don't think it's as serious as what Conor did."
It's hardly the first time feelings have led to a scuffle breaking out at or during a sporting event. UFC No 9 ranked middleweight Israel Adesanya said you don't have to look too hard to find cases of exactly that.
"You see it in baseball, American football, even soccer – you look in the stands and there are often fights," Adesanya said. "Just because it's MMA, there's all these f***ing puritans who are like 'what's the deal with this blood sport?'"
Hooker believed in getting involved in a scuffle with McGregor's team outside of the octagon, Nurmagomedov robbed himself of the greatest moment of his fighting career.
"Khabib didn't get the belt strapped on him in the cage, and he's not going to have that moment."
Matters could get worse for the Russian, with UFC boss Dana White indicating Nurmagomedov could be stripped of his lightweight title if the Nevada State Athletic Commission decide to hand the champion a length suspension for his role in the melee. However, Hooker said he felt that would be an unnecessary punishment.
"Give him a bit of a slap on the wrist, maybe stand him down. I'm sure the Nevada State Athletic Commission is going to cut themselves a healthy little cheque. That should be punishment enough."