The Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Conor McGregor Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 229 battle was among the most controversial mixed martial art fights of the past decade. In this study, the author examines how the various popular media outlets from the Eastern and Western world portrayed Khabib Nurmagomedov after UFC 229. The author used Huntington’s clash of civilization thesis by grounding it in the Orientalism and Occidentalism paradigms to examine the phenomenon. Fairclough’s model for critical discourse analysis was employed to investigate the various Western and Eastern popular press and digital media platforms (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites). The author analyzed 57 (Western n
= 38, Eastern n
= 19) media reports per the inclusion criteria. The study results unveiled conflicting predispositions present in the Western and Eastern media for Khabib Nurmagomedov. This study contributes to the limited knowledge of how a Muslim man athlete with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds is portrayed contrarily by some Western and Eastern media outlets. Finally, the author discusses the theoretical implications of the study.
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