The Potential Legal Implications of UFC 229

UFC Fight 229 T Mobile Arena Vegas Injuries

On October 6th, 2018, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) took center stage at T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. The headline fight of the night was the lightweight championship bout between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. The highly anticipated match ended up being the most watched fight in UFC history, with the undefeated Nurmagomedov beating McGregor in the fourth round.

However, as McGregor tapped out, the real fireworks were just beginning. Seconds after the fight ended, Khabib Nurmagomedov jumped outside of the ring and went after an ally of McGregor, initiating a large scuffle that spilled into the crowd and back into the ring. As reported by Sports Illustrated, the post-match brawl is likely to have considerable legal fallout. Criminal charges may be filed, there may be fines and regulatory sanctions from the state of Nevada, and civil personal injury lawsuits are expected.

What Happened at UFC 229 in Las Vegas?

In the months leading up to the match, there was considerable animosity developing between the teams of McGregor and Nurmagomedov. This included a chaotic scene at a media day in New York City, in which Conor McGregor threw a chair through the window of a bus and was arrested. Beyond that, Nurmagomedov’s team complained that McGregor’s trash-talking crossed the line into unacceptable racial and religious bigotry.

As the fight ended, Nurmagomedov stated that he was provoked by additional trash talk from Mcgregor’s friend and fellow-UFC fighter Dillon Danis, who was standing outside of the ring. Nurmagomedov jumped over the cage, hurled himself into the crowd, and physically confronted Danis. The mass melee resulted that even Mike Tyson called “crazy”. Attacks were launched by many different people, both in and outside of the ring. When the fighting cleared, several people were arrested and multiple people were injured. The fight could have long-lasting legal ramifications for the fighters, the UFC, the venue, and the victims.

Injured Bystanders May Be Entitled to Compensation

When you enter a stadium— whether it is for a fight, a concert, a political speech, or any other large-scale event — you are owed a certain standard of care by the people and companies who put on the show. The venue has an obligation to provide adequate security. Injuries that occur due to a stadium lacking proper security could result in legal action. Innocent bystanders, including fans and employees, may be able to hold reckless or careless parties legally liable for their damages. If you suffered a stadium injury, financial compensation may be available for:

  • Emergency medical bills;
  • Other medical expenses;
  • Physical therapy;
  • Lost current and future wages;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional distress; and
  • Disfigurement or long-term physical impairment.

Who Could Be Held Liable for Fan/Bystander Injuries at UFC 229?

Under Nevada law, multiple different parties could be held legally liable for stadium injuries caused in the post-UFC 229 ringside melee. Any individual, company, or legal entity that contributed to a victim’s injuries through their reckless or careless actions may bear liability. Notably, there are five different parties that might be held legally responsible for injuries in the post-UFC 229 ringside incident:

  • The Organization (UFC): The UFC has a duty to provide reasonably safe conditions to attendees of all varieties on their private property. The organization must ensure that it has obtained proper security and that it has created an overall safe environment. The UFC could be liable for injuries caused by its fighters and even for injuries caused by its fans.
  • The Stadium (T Mobile Arena): Similar to the UFC, the stadium itself also owes a duty of care to the attendees of the event. This includes everything from making sure that there are enough security personnel on site to ensuring that the seats are far enough away from the ring.
    Security Contractors: Any security company that was contracted to work at the event could be held liable for resulting injuries. If security contractors failed to reasonably protect attendees, then they may be the negligent party that bears primary responsibility in any future civil lawsuits.
  • The Fighters: The fighters could also face civil liability. In this case, McGregor is less likely to have an issue. However, Khabib Nurmagomedov may find himself facing civil action. This is because he left the ring and jumped into the stands, physically confronting bystanders.
  • Willing Combatants: Finally, any other willing combatants beyond the fighters themselves may also bear liability. According to reports from the arena, several bystanders with connections to the McGregor team and to the Nurmagomedov team were active participants in the melee. These combatants may be personally responsible for injuries that they caused through their own negligent behavior.

The Bottom Line: Injuries that occur in large-scale incidents such as the post-UFC 229 fight will always result in a complex legal case. Many different defendants may share liability for the resulting injuries. If you or your loved one was injured in this fight, or any other similar situation, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced attorney immediately. A proper, thorough investigation must be conducted.

What Factors Might Make an Injured Victim Ineligible for Compensation?

injured on stairs from crowd chaos at T Mobile Arena in Vegas
When accidents/incidents occur on private property, injured victims may be entitled to financial compensation for their losses. However, there are some issues that could potentially result in an injured party being deemed ineligible to recover compensation.

In this example, parties who initiated force or recklessly participated in the melee may not be able to recover compensation. When a plaintiff brings a negligent security claim, the defendant may try to escape liability by asserting that the plaintiff was, in fact, a negligent actor, and is therefore primarily responsible for their own injuries.

This is an incredibly complicated issue. Bystanders do have a right to defend themselves during a physical altercation. If a person used physical force purely for self defense or to defend another innocent party, they may still be entitled to compensation for their injuries. This type of complicated legal case should always be issue reviewed by an experienced personal injury attorney.

Were You Injured at a Stadium Event in Las Vegas?

You need the best legal representation. At Ladah Law Firm, PLLC, our Nevada personal injury lawyers have extensive experience handling the full range of premises liability claims. If you were hurt at a stadium or during any other type of similar event, we can help. Our legal team will help you hold negligent parties accountable.

For a free, fully confidential legal consultation, please call us today at (702) 252-0055. With an office in Las Vegas, we represent injured victims in Clark County and throughout Southern Nevada, including in Enterprise, Paradise, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Summerlin South, and Spring Valley.