June 23, 2024

‘I’m happy to understand’… Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier solve swear word feud hours before UFC 302


The intense face-off that almost saw Dustin Poirier and Islam Makhachev come to blows came after a miscommunication.

After an understated build-up for UFC 302 that centred around the storyline of Poirier chasing the elusive undisputed lightweight title, things got heated at their final press conference. When the American called his rival a ‘motherf***er’, they had to be dragged apart by security.

The phrase is a common insult thrown around in America, but appears to have a deeper cultural meaning in Makhachev’s native Dagestan. And the miscommunication almost caused the pair to fight on Thursday before the pay-per-view.

Dustin Poirier and Islam Makhachev patch up feud ahead of UFC 302

With a very clear narrative already set out around Dustin Poirier’s third and final chance at undisputed UFC gold, there was no need for a personal beef heading into last night’s fight. But things almost turned that way on Thursday night.

However, Poirier approached Makhachev about the incident after the pair weighed in on Friday morning, as they seemingly patched things up. Speaking after last night’s ceremonial weigh-ins, Makhachev told ESPN that they had settled the feud behind the scenes.

“In the press conference he said some bad words,” Makhachev explained. “But today after the official weigh-ins we all fixed it. He said ‘I don’t mean what I say,’ but it’s okay we all fixed it this morning.

“I respect him, he’s a great fighter, he’s a legend, he did a lot of jobs for this sport. But tomorrow night I have to finish him.”

UFC release footage of Dustin Poirier and Islam Makhachev after UFC 302 weigh-ins

Cameras from the UFC’s Embedded series caught the interaction that Makhachev spoke of with ESPN, showing Poirier approach his rival as he explained his side of the incident. Stand between them was Dominance MMA boss Ali Abdelaziz, who manages the champion’s career.

Poirier can be seen standing over a seated Makhachev and making his case. “You know me, I would never disrespect your family like that,” Poirier can be heard saying, before Abdelaziz notes that there is a culture barrier due to them being from “different countries”.

(L-R) Opponents Islam Makhachev of Russia and Dustin Poirier face off during the UFC 302 ceremonial weigh-in at Prudential Center on May 31, 2024 i...
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The pair agree that it is “all good,” before Poirier remarks that “it’s still war,” but clarifies that he had no interest in showing disrespect to his rival’s family. Makhachev then tells the cameras “I am happy to understand what he means.

“It’s not good in our country, what he said. Maybe in the US it is good but in our country it really is not good.”

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