MMA fighter Dillon Danis has slammed an anonymous report by American gossip site TMZ which claimed he sparked a brawl with Khabib Nurmagomedov with a religious slur.
Danis, a mixed martial artist who regularly trains with Conor McGregor, was in the Irish UFC star's corner for his fight at UFC 229.
After claiming victory, Nurmagomedov turned his attention to Danis, throwing his mouthguard in his direction before leaping out of the cage and launching a flying kick at the Bellator fighter.
The pair engaged in a scuffle and attempted to throw a couple of punches but were quickly separated in a throng of fight fans and security.
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TMZ Sports quoted an anonymous cageside witness who claimed Danis was trash talking Nurmagomedov and drew a "death stare" by calling him a "f***ing Muslim rat".
"We spoke with a fan who was sitting in spitting distance from Danis during the fight — and we're told Danis was running his mouth throughout most of the fight," the report said.
"There was a moment between the second and third rounds when Khabib shot a death stare right at Dillon, according to our witness who says it was obvious Khabib heard at least some of the insults. But, we're told the final straw was the Muslim insult that Danis hurled toward the end of the fight."
Danis appeared to respond to the report on Wednesday morning.
McGregor's coach John Kavanagh told the Joe Rogan Podcast he didn't hear Danis trash talking after Nurmagomedov secured a fourth-round submission but guessed he may have put the Russian offside with some online trolling in the lead-up to the event.
Danis has taken a page out of the McGregor playbook as he looks to build his profile as a fighter and took aim at Nurmagomedov's background in the Russian art of Sambo a few days out from UFC 229.
"(Danis) actually didn't say anything," Kavanagh said. "I was standing beside Dillon. I didn't see what he did but I could hear. He didn't say anything. When I watched it back I could see him beckon (Nurmagomedov) on. It's just stupid end of fight stuff. But it didn't justify that level of response.
"Maybe there was something else in the build up. Dillon is a little bit of trouble online. But, like I said, it wasn't that big of a deal to me what Khabib did. It just really wasn't."
Nurmagomedov and McGregor are both facing sanctions from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their roles in the violent aftermath.
Danis hasn't been cited and it's been revealed he actually went out after the fight. UFC fighter Brian Ortega told TMZ he bumped into Danis in a nightclub.
"At first I was like damn, what are you doing here — especially alone," Ortega said. "I was like 'this guy's a savage right now'.
"He had a hood on, trying to be low key, but he came up to me, he was respectful, he was like 'hey man, you're holding it down for the jiu jitsu community, you're doing your thing, I admire you, I appreciate it.'
"He was cool about the whole situation.
"He wouldn't really tell me much (about the brawl). He was like, 'yeah man, s***t got crazy. These guys started throwing, I started throwing.' One of his eyes was swollen. He was just telling me he got a concussion, so he got down too man.
"After that, he was going to walk out by himself, and I told my boy, I go 'make sure this guy gets out of here alright,' cause, you know, there seemed to be some Russians in that club.
"So I was like 'make sure this guy gets out safely.' Cause the last thing you want is this guy getting jumped going out."