Next Article in Journal
The Ghosts Navalny Met: Russian YouTube-Sphere in Check
Previous Article in Journal
An Affirmative Approach to Teaching Critical Data Studies
 
 
Order Article Reprints
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:
Background:
Article

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 229: Orientalism vs. Occidentalism in the Media

ADVANCE, Office of the Dean of Faculties, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Journal. Media. 2021, 2(4), 657-673; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia2040039
Received: 30 July 2021 / Revised: 3 October 2021 / Accepted: 26 October 2021 / Published: 1 November 2021

Abstract

:
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.

1. Introduction

“The Dagestani champion mauled the brash former ‘champ champ’—as McGregor calls himself—taking down the Irishman repeatedly, subjecting him to an absolute skull-shattering ground-and-pound that lasted for an excruciating two minutes, before using his terrifying wrestling skills to neutralise McGregor on the ground with a rear naked choke turned neck crank. As Khabib warned before the fight, it was certainly a long night for Conor.”
“Vladimir Putin has expressed his sympathy for Khabib Nurmagomedov after the Russian fighter lost his cool at UFC 229…Nurmagomedov stole headlines around the world after he leapt out of the cage towards his opponent’s entourage and incited a massive brawl inside the stadium……Nevertheless, in a meeting with Nurmagomedov……President Putin congratulated the fighter on his victory.”
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 229 fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor in 2018 became an international headline (UFC 2019). The UFC (2019) claimed that the match generated a total of USD 86.4 million. The event broke previous records of attendance (20,034) and ticket revenue (USD 17,188,894) (UFC 2019). Conor McGregor, in an interview, claimed that despite losing the match, he made around USD 50 million from the event (ESPN 2020). According to Dana White, President of the UFC, a rematch between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor would break all the previous records of the mixed martial arts (MMA) industry (Business Insider 2019). Despite the fight becoming a massive success for the UFC, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s after-match skirmish with McGregor’s ring-side team led to negative criticism in the Western media against the Russian-born Muslim UFC champion.
UFC is an American-based mixed martial arts organization that started its operation in 1993 (UFC 2021). The early goal of UFC was to find “the Ultimate Fighting Champion” via a single-night tournament. During initial UFC fights, there were no clear combative rules. Nevertheless, in 2001, Zuffa LLC bought UFC, and the new leadership branded the organization events into a highly structured and controlled combat sport. UFC nowadays annually produces more than 40 live events (UFC 2021). UFC events are also broadcast in more than 165 countries, with a viewership of more than 1.1 billion individuals (UFC 2021). The highest numbers of millennials are also following UFC compared to various other sporting events (UFC 2021). However, despite UFC’s growing popularity among the youth, numerous media gurus have questioned UFC’s racist and xenophobic media strategy (Boston Globe 2020).
A plethora of scholarly evidence suggests that the Muslim world is being rendered in the Western media as retrograde and inhumane (Ahmed and Matthes 2016; Malcolm et al. 2010; Samie and Sehlikoglu 2014). For instance, Malcolm et al. (2010) underscored that after the death of Pakistani national cricket team coach Bob Woolmer (a British National), mainstream media painted the Muslim world as unruly, emotional, bizarre, and regressive. Similarly, Ahmed and Matthes (2016) collected 345 scholarly studies after the 9/11 terrorist attacks regarding Muslims” representation in the popular press; they found out that journalistic reporting towards Muslims has a particular kind of racial tilt.
On the other hand, some Muslim media outlets portray the Western world as Islamophobic, Satanist, shameless animals, and racist (Dębnicki 2016; Gentzkow and Shapiro 2004). For example, Dębnicki (2016) conducted a critical analysis of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s print media. The author unearths that media groups influenced by the right-wing jihadi groups in Pakistan try to develop an anti-West narrative to promulgate conservative Islamic ideology and buttress their political control on the illiterate public. However, there remains a paucity of sociology of sports scholarship about how Muslim men athletes who have a robust Islamic identity/ideology with non-Western ethnicity are portrayed in the Western and Eastern media outlets (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites).
The purpose of this study was to examine how various Eastern and Western popular media platforms (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) portrayed Khabib Nurmagomedov after his famous clash with Conor McGregor in the UFC pay-per-view fight. To understand the phenomenon, the clash of civilization thesis (Huntington 1993) was employed by grounding the phenomenon in the Orientalism (Said 1978) and Occidentalism (Buruma and Margalit 2005; Gill 2004) paradigms. I argue that sporting contexts can offer a means for various ideological beliefs to publicize systematic racism and xenophobia. The propagation of bigotry and rage towards religious beliefs can lead to further hate towards different communities (i.e., the Muslim and Western world) and indicate racism lying in many societies” cultural fabric (Feagin 2001; Feagin and Ducey 2017). This study adds to the clash of civilizations thesis in the sporting context. The study also provides a holistic view of how some Eastern and Western media outlets see one sporting phenomenon inversely. Overall, this study provides an answer to a research question about how the various Eastern and Western media platforms (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) portrayed Khabib Nurmagomedov after his UFC 229 clash with Conor McGregor.
Research Question (RQ):How was Khabib Nurmagomedov portrayed by the various Western and Eastern media platforms (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) after his clash with Conor McGregor at UFC 229?

2. Theoretical Framework: The Clash of Civilizations Thesis

In international relations, political science, and sociology literature, one of the most debated theses of the 21st century, presented by Huntington (1993, 1996), remains the clash of civilizations (Haynes 2019). The basic proposition of the clash of civilizations thesis is that the fundamental source of conflict in the new world will not be based on ideologically driven economics (i.e., Communism vs. Capitalism) but will be based on cultural differences (Huntington 1993, 1996). Further, Haynes (2019) argued that the clash of civilizations could be implicit or explicit, such as conventional warfare or conflict in various social activities.
Scholars have widely employed the clash of civilizations thesis to understand the Western world’s bias against Muslims in the form of Islamophobia (Haynes 2019). According to Considine (2017), Islamophobia is a type of racial prejudice deeply rooted in the cultural fabric of the Western world. In comparison, the Muslim community’s angertowards the Western world can be observed through increased terrorism and extremism against Western civilization. Further, outrage in the Muslim world concerning the West could be understood through Huntington’s (1993, 1996) explanation that cultural differences could be the cause of implicit and explicit bias.
Huntington (1993, 1996) established his arguments by first dividing the world into eight civilizations: Sinic, Japanese, Hindu, Islamic, Orthodox, Western, Latin American, and African. Next, Huntington (1993, 1996) unveiled how the balance of power historically has shifted across various civilizations. This scholar underscored that the decline of various civilizations was not linear but dependent upon numerous factors. Huntington (1993, 1996) also highlighted that after the Cold War, the world order had shifted again towards Western civilization. Finally, Huntington (1993, 1996) presented the clash of civilizations thesis by uncovering differences between Western and other civilizations. Huntington (1993, 1996) emphasized that in-depth historical friction exists between the Muslim and Western worlds. Thereby, a vital clash would happen between the Muslim world and Western civilization. Fundamentally, Huntington (1993, 1996) developed his thesis based on Lewis’ (1990) work about deciphering the roots of Muslims’ rage towards the Western world. Huntington (1993, 1996) highlighted that the unsatisfied and unemployed Muslim youth and the Western world leaders’ attempt to universalize Muslim values had generated intense resentment in the Muslim world. Lastly, Haynes (2019) argued that the clash of civilization between the Muslim world and the West could be observed via social activities (e.g., sports).

2.1. Sociology of Sports Scholarship and Clash of Civilization Thesis

Despite scholars trying to study the Muslim world through several sociological and socio-psychological frameworks (Hussain and Cunningham 2020; Malcolm et al. 2010; Nakamura 2002; Ratna and Samie 2017; Samie 2017), there is a lack of scholarship about the clash of civilizations thesis as a framework to understand the Islamophobia, ethnocentrism, eurocentrism, and the prejudice of the Muslim world towards the West in sports. Nevertheless, as sports are a social institution (Bourdieu 1978), they provide an opportunity to test the clash of civilizations thesis in a competitive environment (Dyreson 2012). For instance, the 1998 FIFA soccer world cup encounter between the USA and Iran is a classic example of the clash between the West and the Muslim world, not only in the sporting arena but also across the media and public. For example, Billingham (2014) argued that the USA versus Iran match in the 1998 soccer FIFA world cup was the most politically charged sporting encounter in the last century.
Dyreson (2010) also underscored that the 2008 Beijing Olympics depicted a clash of civilization between American Capitalism and Chinese Confucian culture. Many Chinese believed that the Olympics was a Western-oriented phenomenon and that Chinese athletes winning the medal was considered a win against American imperialism. Likewise, Sen (2015) argued that cricket became a prominent sport in the Indian sub-continent and the Caribbean in the early 20th century because it offered a means to the colonized countries to challenge the British hegemony. Additionally, Pakistani and Indian cricket matches are seen as a religious war by the people of the two nations (Bandyopadhyay 2007). Thus, sporting events can provide a means to understand the clash between various cultures.
Even though the clash of civilizations thesis remains a fundamental framework to study international relations in the 21st century, especially the Muslim community (Haynes 2017, 2019), sport sociologists have not widely employed this framework to understand conflicts between cultures, especially in international sports and media communications scholarship. Ratna and Samie (2017) accentuated that sports scholarship is rooted in ethnocentrism and eurocentrism. They also claimed that numerous scholars try to depict the Muslim world as pejorative, inhumane, emotional, and secondary compared to the Western world. However, there is a paucity of sport sociology scholarship about Muslim men athletes’ portrayal in Western popular media platforms (e.g., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) in comparison with the Eastern media outlets (e.g., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites). Moreover, due to a Western essentialist worldview dominating the broader sport management discourse (Newman 2014), Muslim athletes are only seen through the lens of religion, with little to no research done on broader intersections, such as nationality, ethnicity, gender, Orientalism, and nature of sports shaping Muslim athletes’ perception in the West through the popular media. In addition, there is a lack of scholarship about how the various Eastern media outlets (e.g., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) are portraying Muslim athletes’ success over non-Muslim athletes. Therefore, this study contributes to the various gaps in the scholarship.

2.2. Criticism on Clash of Civilization Thesis

According to Haynes (2019), Huntington’s (1993) clash of civilizations thesis has been challenged by numerous scholars and reinforced by various right-wing populist political leaders. For instance, Noam Chomsky criticized the clash of civilizations as a new proposition developed to propagate warfare and division among the nations (Shahi 2017). However, Haynes (2019) argued that numerous world leaders are influenced by the clash of civilizations thesis implicitly and make Islamophobic decisions regarding trade, human rights, and immigration. For instance, due to recent unrest in the Middle East and African countries, nearly 35,000 individuals have died while trying to escape in European countries (National Public Radio 2018). Further, the ban on Hijab in various European countries and the movement against Hijab depicts the implicit bias against the Muslim world in Western societies. On the other hand, Muslim leaders’ explicit hate in their political speeches is reported somewhat daily by popular media (e.g., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites). Nevertheless, this implicit bias has not been studied in the sport management scholarship regarding the portrayal of athletes in the Western and Eastern media (e.g., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites).

3. Orientalism versus Occidentalism: The Clash of Civilization Thesis

In the extant scholarship, there are two theoretical approaches (Orientalism and Occidentalism) that have profoundly influenced the body of knowledge about the Muslim World (Buruma and Margalit 2005; Gill 2004; Venn 2000). First, the notion of Orientalism stems from Said’s (1978) seminal work on how many Western scholars perceive the Eastern world. Said (1978) underscored that some Western scholars generalize the Eastern world as static, homogenous, intellectually weak, and underdeveloped. In contrast, they demonstrate the West as developed, superior, and rational (Said 1978). Likewise, many Western scholars present Muslim countries, such as the states in the Middle East, as homogenous and radical. Said (1978) argued that although many Western scholars try to explore Muslim communities through robust methodological means, in reality, they compare their values with the Muslim people, which produces faulty knowledge. Said (1978) also showed that some Eastern scholars reaffirm the Western view due to Western supremacy dominating the scholarship. Scholars have widely cited Said’s (1978) work to decolonize the broader literature concerning the Muslim world (Roose and Turner 2019; Samiei 2010).
On the other hand, Occidentalism refers to how some Eastern scholars perceive the West as inhumane, immoral, sinful, racist, a threat to religion, all-White, and market-driven (Buruma and Margalit 2005; Gill 2004; Venn 2000). This deep-rooted bias towards the West shapes the ideological values of some Eastern scholars (Buruma and Margalit 2005). Further, these researchers only see the West and its relationship with the East as non-compliant (Buruma and Margalit 2005; Gill 2004; Venn 2000). The above two philosophical terrains create a broader discourse about the Muslim and the Western world (Buruma and Margalit 2005; Gill 2004; Venn 2000). In this study, I have grounded the Orientalism and Occidentalism notion in the clash of civilizations thesis to offer how a Muslim male athlete with intersecting identities can be seen differently in the Eastern and Western media. Hence, I expand Huntington’s (1993) clash of civilizations thesis by arguing that the clash between the Muslim and Western world could be observed in the Orientalist and Occidentalist media discourse.

4. Current Study Context: Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Conor McGregor

Khabib Nurmagomedov retired with an undefeated record in 2020. However, the UFC 229 became a global front-page news story, not due to Khabib Nurmagomedov winning the match and retaining his UFC title (Zidan 2019), but more so because of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s after-match attack on Conor McGregor’s ring-side team. This attack was in response to unceasing Islamophobic and racist slurs before and during the match by Conor McGregor and his team members (Zidan 2019). Before the fight, Conor McGregor openly disparaged the Islamic faith of Khabib Nurmagomedov on social media and UFC’s official platforms. For instance, Conor McGregor referred to Khabib Nurmagomedov as a “backward cunt” and offered him alcohol in the UFC 229 pre-fight press conference. Alcohol consumption is prohibited in Islam and it is perceived as disrespectful if it is offered to a Muslim. Conor McGregor also called Khabib Nurmagomedov’s wife a “towel mate” because she covered her face with Hijab in her wedding pictures (USA Today 2019).
On the other hand, Khabib Nurmagomedov, in various media discussions, has openly discussed his strong Islamic beliefs being the cause of his unbeaten track record at the UFC against non-Muslim MMA fighters (Pugmire 2018). Khabib Nurmagomedov also criticized the Western media for showing abhorrence towards his religious beliefs. The Russian fighter has also been criticized for not showing up with the Russian flag in the octagon but wearing an identifiable sheepskin headwear, “the papakha” (Vestnik Kavkaza 2018). In addition, after the victory against Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov was invited by the Turkish and Russian Prime Minister to congratulate him on his victory on a personal basis. Thus, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s victory was celebrated in the Muslim world as a victory against the West, which shows potential bias held in the Eastern world against the West. Therefore, Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Conor McGregor provides an interesting case study to understand how the clash between the West and the Eastern world could be observed in the sporting context by analyzing the popular discourse.

5. Research Method

Fairclough’s (1989, 1995) model for critical discourse analysis (CDA) was used to understand the phenomenon. Fairclough’s (1989, 1995) underscored that CDA entails three inter-related procedures of analysis that are connected to three inter-related dimensions. The three dimensions are the identification of the object of study (e.g., newspapers, blogs, and websites), understanding the source of object creation (e.g., an event—Khabib Nurmagomedov v. Conor McGregor) by a human subject, and socio-historical perspectives about the phenomenon interpreted in the object of analysis. These three dimensions require three types of analysis: textual analysis, processing analysis, and social analysis. In this study, I did the textual analysis by exploring newspaper databases, online sporting websites, and blogs. I used an open coding system (Creswell 1998) for processing analysis. Finally, using the theoretical framework and previous scholarship, I conducted a social analysis of the retrieved data.

5.1. Data Collection

Data were collected from the following newspaper databases: ProQuest Recent Newspapers, Google News, and Press Reader. Further, online sporting websites and blogs were analyzed through a google search. I also analyzed various top newspapers from the Eastern and the Western world via Google search. The keywords used were *Ultimate Fight Championship (UFC) 229, *Pay-per-view UFC 229, *Khabib Nurmagomedov Versus Conor McGregor, *Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, and *Khabib Nurmagomedov October 2018. The inclusion criteria were as follows: First, the media outlet should have reported the news in English. Second, the news should be regarding the Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Conor McGregor UFC 229 fight. Lastly, the national origin of the source should be identifiable. For screening of media reports, Moher et al.’s (2009) PRISMA (preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses) approach was employed. I initially identified 480 media reports (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites), out of which 57 were deemed appropriate per the inclusion criteria (see Appendix A). The snapshot of the Western media outlets (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) analyzed is given in Appendix B, while the snapshot of the Eastern media platforms (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) is presented in Appendix C.

5.2. Data Analysis

Elo and Kyngäs’s (2008) three-phase content analysis procedure was employed for data analysis. The three phases are preparation, organization, and reporting. First, I prepared data by analyzing the sources of data collection. Second, data were organized using open coding (Creswell 1998). Third, I combined open codes to develop themes (Corbin and Strauss 2008). Finally, I report the final themes in the result section using the selective coding method (Creswell 1998).

5.3. Positionality and Reflexivity

Singer et al. (2019) underscored that clearly putting forward the researcher’s positionality increases the trustworthiness of the research. In the recent past, sport management and sport sociology scholars have extensively written about Islamophobia, Orientalism, and colonized Western scholarship shaping the perception of Muslim athletes and the Muslim world (Hussain and Cunningham 2020; Ratna and Samie 2017; Samie 2013, 2017; Samie and Sehlikoglu 2014; Toffoletti and Palmer 2017). However, scholars’ silence about how the Muslim world depicts the West signifies deep bias (Occidentalism) in sporting academia. Therefore, I accentuate that our service to the scholarship should not be based upon our religious and racial identity but upon understanding and reporting the contrasting and multiple realities. I am a practicing Muslim man from Pakistan working in the United States. My ontological view is that truth is socially constructed. Therefore, there exists no singular reality, while my epistemological opinion is that knowledge is negotiated and dynamic. Thereby, my worldview and research paradigm might have influenced this study.

6. Results and Discussion

6.1. Western Media: The Orient within the Clash of Civilizations

The content analysis of various Western media platforms (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) unveiled deep racial and ethnic bias held against Khabib Nurmagomedov. In addition, his victory against Conor McGregor was overshadowed by focusing on his nuanced identity. Khabib Nurmagomedov was also blamed by the Western media (e.g., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) for not being able to control his emotions. This reaffirms the primary notion of Orientalism that Muslim men are seen in the Western media as emotional and irrational.

6.1.1. The Blame Game

The first theme that emerged from data is the portrayal of Khabib Nurmagomedov as the culprit of the after-fight brawl and overshadowing his victory, as the BBC News (2018), while quoting a popular blogger Ruslan Usachov from Russia, reported, “Official Rossiya 1 TV hails the Dagestani fighter as “our Khabib” who “almost literally tore McGregor’s head off.’ However, not all Russians were proud of Nurmagomedov. It is Khabib who won, but it is I who feel ashamed.
Likewise, the Bleacher’s Report (Botter 2018) headline was, “Khabib Nurmagomedov brought his best vs. Conor McGregor; then we saw his worst”. Similarly, the headline of The New York Times (2018) was, “Khabib Nurmagomedov could face fine and suspension after brawl at UFC 229”. Hence, The New York Times (2018) focused upon the after-fight brawl rather than celebrating Khabib Nurmagomedov’s victory. Similarly, Business Insider (2018b), a US-based online website, blamed Khabib Nurmagomedov for his early actions as the cause of disputes with Conor McGregor. For instance, the Business Insider (2018b) registered, “The bad blood between McGregor and Nurmagomedov, which was sparked when the Russian was seen on video slapping McGregor’s team-mate Artem Lobov in April, has been well documented”. This bias in the broader Western media (e.g., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) remains despite UFC’s various attempts to assimilate fighters from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. One can understand the incompatibility of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s identity within the Western world via Feagin and Feagin’s (1999) understanding of Gordon’s (1964) work about why people of color face bias in the US.
Feagin and Feagin (1999) discussed three competing critical concepts of assimilation of people of color in a Westernized phenomenon: melting pot, cultural pluralism, and Anglo-conformity. The melting pot elucidates understanding in the West that people from diverse backgrounds should be made part of the harmonious stew. This provides an opportunity for various groups to be part of larger group phenomena. However, the stew itself is tilted towards biased understanding of race (Armstrong 2011), escalating tension between the minority and the majority group. The other method of assimilation is via cultural pluralism. Cultural pluralism is described as a minority group being part of the majority group activity while maintaining their cultural differences (Feagin and Feagin 1999). Nonetheless, keeping cultural differences can also be dangerous for the minority group because of unfathomable racial biases within society. For instance, Khabib Nurmagomedov is part of a Western phenomenon (i.e., UFC) while maintaining his religious identity. However, his religion and racial ethnicity directly clashes with the core values of the Western world. Thereby, Khabib Nurmagomedov and many other athletes like him might continuously face racial and ethnic bias in the West, despite being offered an opportunity to be part of a social event. Lastly, Anglo-conformity means that people of color become part of the West by following Anglo-White norms and traditions. This does not guarantee them an opportunity to be fully assimilated within the group because the majority will never consider them as part of the mainstream group (Armstrong 2011). Consequently, the blame towards Khabib Nurmagomedov is natural and tilted towards a broader understanding of Khabib Nurmagomedov being incompatible with the Anglo-White norms and traditions.

6.1.2. The Russian Dagestani Muslim

The second significant theme that emerged from some Western media’s (e.g., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) data (see Appendix B) was the portrayal of Khabib Nurmagomedov as a Dagestani Russian Muslim with a discriminatory approach. For instance, many Western media outlets (e.g., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) used the word Russian repeatedly with Khabib Nurmagomedov. In comparison, Conor McGregor’s racial and ethnic identity was not widely used to describe the White Irish fighter within the same articles. For example, Reuters (2018) reported:
“For once the violence in the octagon looked secondary as a mass brawl ensued after Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov retained his UFC lightweight title with a submission win over Conor McGregor on Saturday.”
Likewise, the Irish Examiner’s (2018) headline was, “The UFC call him Russian but, like his hated rival, Khabib is much more complicated.” On the contrary, British Broadcasting Corporation—BBC News (2018) registered, “The Dagestani—who has never lost in his career—beat his Irish opponent in the fourth round of the Las Vegas mixed martial arts (MMA) fight.” Though BBC highlighted Conor McGregor’s Irish identity, it did not ponder his ethnic and racial background. However, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s ethnic background of being Dagestani was the main emphasis of the BBC. In addition, many media outlets (e.g., Fox News and New York Times) highlighted Khabib Nurmagomedov’s religious identity of being Muslim. In comparison, not even one outlet discussed Conor McGregor’s religious identity.
The above examples illustrate the potential racial and religious bias against Khabib Nurmagomedov. This bias is not only limited to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s religious beliefs but against his ethnic and racial background. The discrimination against Khabib Nurmagomedov depicts how Muslim athletes’ identities are being universalized and homogenized. This bias towards Khabib Nurmagomedov cements the notion of Orientalism lying in the Western discourse (Said 1978). Thus, there exists a potential racial, ethnic, and religious bias against Khabib Nurmagomedov’s national, ethnic, and religious identity in the Western media (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites).

6.2. The Eastern Media: The Occidentalism within the Clash of Civilization

Analysis of the Eastern media (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) uncovered a positive bias towards Khabib Nurmagomedov’s action (after fight brawl) due to his religious identity (see Appendix C). Further, Khabib Nurmagomedov was portrayed as a Muslim Messiah fighting against the infidel Western world. This biased media approach by homogenizing the Western world as all-infidel and Islamophobic depicts the Eastern world’s media’s deep racial bias towards the West.

The Innocent Hero of the East against the Infidel

The Eastern media (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) also highlighted Khabib Nurmagomedov’s religious identity but in a triumphant tone. For instance, Al-Jazeera (2018) reported, “Violent scenes occurred inside and outside the cage on Saturday night after McGregor tapped out in the fourth round of his comeback Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bout against the undefeated Muslim champion”. Likewise, the Arab News (2018) reported, “The 30-year-old Muslim pleaded that he was not to blame for the sorry post-fight scenes. This is not my best side. He talked about my religion, my country, my father”. The Express Tribune, a Pakistani newspaper, had the headline, “McGregor can pass racist and Islamophobic insults, but Nurmagomedov can’t react to it?” Thereby, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s after-match actions were justified because of his religious identity. Buruma and Margalit (2005) argued that many Islamists view the West as ignorant about religion and barbaric. This leads to a broader affirmation that hostile acts against the Western world are justified and should be supported.
Buruma and Margalit (2005) claimed that Occidentalists view the West as a bourgeois society hooked to individual luxuries and selfishness. Hence, in the eye of Occidentalism, the West is a fraidy-cat that rewards life above bereavement (Buruma and Margalit 2005). In the results, I found out that there was an inherent belief that Khabib Nurmagomedov was fighting against coward infidels who did not have any ethical values. For instance, the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation World’s (2020) headline was, “Khabib: An unabashedly Muslim champion in an Islamophobic world.” Similarly, the South China Morning Post’s (2019) headline after Khabib Nurmagomedov was congratulated by the Russian President was, “UFC: Khabib and Vladimir Putin throw shade at Conor McGregor as Russian president praises chokehold”. This highlights that the “chokehold” of Khabib Nurmagomedov was portrayed as a sign of walloping Conor McGregor. Thereby, hostility against Conor McGregor was endorsed and celebrated in the Eastern world. In contrast, the Western media (i.e., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) depicted the chokehold as a means to take off Conor McGregor’s head (BBC News 2018).
Some Eastern media outlets (e.g., newspapers, blogs, and sporting news websites) also portrayed Khabib Nurmagomedov as a savior of the Muslim world compared to other Muslim athletes. For instance, Al-Qalam, South Africa’s Muslim newspaper, had the headline, “Khabib ‘100 times bigger than Mo Salah’ after winning for the Muslim world”. Khabib Nurmagomedov’s victory was considered as the Muslim world’s victory. Overall, it can be argued that Khabib Nurmagomedov was portrayed as a Muslim Messiah fighting against the cowardly Islamophobic West. This categorization of the Western world as being all Islamophobic depicts potential deep racial bias against the West in the East, confirming Occidentalism notion in the Eastern world.

7. Conclusions

In the early 1990s, the clash of civilizations thesis was used to predict the West and the Muslim world’s potential conflict. Numerous scholars have claimed that the clash of civilizations thesis has been substantiated due to ongoing disputes between the West and the Muslim world after the 9/11 terrorist attacks (e.g., the Aghan war, Syrian War, Iraq War, and Libya War) (Haynes 2019). Further, the clash of civilizations thesis was mainly hypothesized to decipher the explicit bias held among various civilizations due to historical reasons (Huntington 1993). However, scholars have argued that the clash of civilizations thesis can offer a means to understand implicit bias among various civilizations in social activities such as sports (Dyreson 2010, 2012). In this study, I have examined the clash of civilizations thesis through the lens of Orientalism and Occidentalism. I argue that a Muslim athlete with an intersecting identity can be seen in a contrasting way in the Muslim and Eastern world media. This study adds to the body of knowledge by elucidating that civilizations’ clashes could be witnessed in the sporting phenomenon.
Notably, in the sociology of sport scholarship, researchers have already highlighted that the Muslim world is perceived as a homogenous and monolithic entity by the Western world (Ratna and Samie 2017; Samie 2013, 2017). This study contributes to the sport sociology scholarship by highlighting that the Muslim world media also sees the West as homogenous and racist, which shows deep contrasting racial bias in both civilizations.
However, the study results should not be generalized for heterogeneous UFC fans’ views within the Western and Muslim world. Moreover, this study results only focuses on some media outlets’ portrayal of Khabib Nurmagomedov, as there are numerous Western Muslim and non-Muslim fans of Khabib Nurmagomedov who might have different views than overall media discourse. Therefore, a study should be conducted concerning how fans’ views differ from popular media discourses in the future.
Research is also warranted on how Muslim women athletes are seen in both the Western and Eastern worlds. However, there has been some research about how Muslim women athletes are understood in the Western media (Samie and Sehlikoglu 2014). For instance, Samie and Sehlikoglu (2014) conducted a critical analysis of numerous online media platforms to understand how the Western media painted Muslim women from 28 different countries during the 2012 London Olympic Games. They found that most of the Western media described Muslim women as out of place, incompetent, in need of Western men’s help, and exotic veiled objects. However, missing from the scholarship is how Western and Eastern media portray Muslim women athletes’ participation in one sporting event in a contrasting way. Further, I request scholars to take a more holistic approach in understanding the portrayal of Muslim athletes’ identity by media via highlighting contrasting views, rather than only stressing Islamophobia and Orientalist bias in the Western world. Lastly, in the future, a study could be conducted concerning how Western media portrays Western minority athletes as compared to Muslim athletes from the Eastern world.

Funding

The open access publishing fees for this article have been covered by the Texas A&M University Open Access to Knowledge Fund (OAKFund), supported by the University Libraries.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable, no human subject involved.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

References for data are presented in the Appendices.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declare no conflict of interest.

Appendix A

Figure A1. Data Screening Strategy.
Figure A1. Data Screening Strategy.
Journalmedia 02 00039 g0a1

Appendix B

Table A1. The Snapshot of the Major Western Media News Outlets.
Table A1. The Snapshot of the Major Western Media News Outlets.
Newspaper/Blog/WebsiteHeadlineOriginSource
1. Fox NewsKhabib Nurmagomedov faces $2M fine for post-fight meleeUSAhttps://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/khabib-nurmagomedov-faces-2m-fine-for-post-fight-melee-report (accessed on 1 November 2020)
2. The GuardianVladimir Putin sympathises with Nurmagomedov over McGregor brawlUKhttps://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/oct/10/vladimir-putin-khabib-nurmagomedov-conor-mcgregor-ufc-229 (accessed on 1 November 2020)
3. Radio Free Europe/Radio LibertySucker Punch? Many Russians Back Irish Fighter McGregor Over Daghestani Khabib In UFC 229USAhttps://www.rferl.org/a/below-the-belt-many-russians-back-irish-fighter-over-local-daghestani-for-mma-championship/29523686.html (accessed on 1 November 2020)
4. Business InsiderVladimir Putin told Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father to cut him some slack after he incited a riot at UFC 229USAhttps://www.businessinsider.com/vladimir-putin-told-khabib-nurmagomedov-father-to-cut-him-some-slack-2018-10 (accessed on 1 November 2020)
5. Bleacher ReportConor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov Is a Study of ContrastsUSAhttps://bleacherreport.com/articles/2797108-conor-mcgregor-vs-khabib-nurmagomedov-is-a-study-of-contrasts (accessed on 1 November 2020)
6. Sporting NewsKhabib Nurmagomedov rejects fighting ‘idiot’ Conor McGregor again, even for $100 MUSAhttps://www.sportingnews.com/us/mma/news/conor-mcgregor-khabib-nurmagomedov-ufc-rematch/r4iii30cwyt215twa1027j5me/ (accessed on 1 November 2020)
7. ESPNPost-fight brawl ensues after Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregorUSAhttps://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/24916111/khabib-nurmagomedov-defeats-conor-mcgregor-submission-ufc-229-main-event (accessed on 1 November 2020)
8. The Sun‘SMASHED AGAIN’ Khabib Nurmagomedov camp tell Conor McGregor to ‘bring security’ to UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi after Notorious’ Muslim jibeUK.https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/9430984/khabib-nurmagomedovs-camp-send-warning-to-conor-mcgregor-ahead-of-ufc-242-you-better-bring-security-with-you-to-abu-dhabi/ (accessed on 1 November 2020)
9. The MirrorConor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov: Russian’s cousin reveals damage “Irish b*****d” caused in UFC 229 brawlUKhttps://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/other-sports/mma/damage-conor-mcgregor-inflicted-khabib-13380104 (accessed on 1 November 2020)
10. Irish ExaminerThe UFC call him Russian but, like his hated rival, Khabib is much more complicatedIrelandhttps://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/arid-30873697.html (accessed on 1 November 2020)
11. Daily MailKhabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregor in fourth round of epic UFC 229 title fight before chaos descends as Russian jumps into the crowd to fight Irishman’s team-mate Dillon Danis—then McGregor is PUNCHED in head by members of Khabib’s teamUKhttps://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/mma/article-6248751/Khabib-Nurmagomedov-beats-Conor-McGregor-submission-win.html (accessed on 15 November 2020)
12. Bleacher ReportKhabib Nurmagomedov brought his best vs. Conor Mcgregor; then we saw his worstUSAhttps://bleacherreport.com/articles/2799490-khabib-nurmagomedov-brought-his-best-vs-conor-mcgregor-then-we-saw-his-worst (accessed on 15 November 2020)
13. ReutersBrawls overshadow Khabib’s UFC title win over McGregorUnited Kingdomhttps://www.reuters.com/article/us-mma-ufc-ufc229-brawls/brawls-overshadow-khabibs-ufc-title-win-over-mcgregor-idUSKCN1MH09P (accessed on 15 November 2020)
14. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)Khabib Nurmagomedov v Conor McGregor: Dagestan celebrates winUnited Kingdomhttps://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45782513 (accessed on 15 November 2020)
15. Talk SportsConor McGregor opens up on brawl with ‘rat’ Khabib Nurmagomedov and says ‘let’s go again’United Kingdomhttps://talksport.com/sport/mma/547507/conor-mcgregor-brawl-rat-khabib-nurmagomedov/ (accessed on 15 November 2020)
16. Irish PostConor McGregor issues threat to ‘scurrying rat’ Khabib Nurmagomedov ahead of UFC comebackIrelandhttps://www.irishpost.com/news/conor-mcgregor-khabib-nurmagomedov-insult-175822 (accessed on 15 November 2020)
17. International Business Times (IBTimes)Scurrying Rat! That’s what Conor McGregor called Khabib Nurmagomedov to challenge himUSAhttps://www.ibtimes.sg/scurrying-rat-thats-what-conor-mcgregor-called-khabib-nurmagomedov-challenge-him-36253 (accessed on 15 November 2020)
18. Sport BusinessThe McGregor effect: UFC 229 almost sells out within three minutesUSAhttps://test.sportbusiness.com/news/the-mcgregor-effect-ufc-229-almost-sells-out-within-three-minutes/ (accessed on 15 November 2020)
19. The New York TimesKhabib Nurmagomedov Could Face Fine and Suspension After Brawl at UFC 229USAhttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/sports/mcgregor-khabib-ufc-229.html (accessed on 15 November 2020)
20. Bleach ReportKhabib Nurmagomedov Mocks Conor McGregor: ‘This Is Not a Burger King’s Sport’USAhttps://bleacherreport.com/articles/2764330-khabib-nurmagomedov-mocks-conor-mcgregor-this-is-not-a-burger-kings-sport (accessed on 15 November 2020)
21. CBSS SportUFC 229 results, Khabib vs. McGregor highlights: All hell breaks loose after Nurmagomedov winsUSAhttps://www.cbssports.com/mma/news/ufc-229-results-all-hell-breaks-loose-as-khabib-nurmagomedov-submits-conor-mcgregor/ (accessed on 15 November 2020)
22. ESPN NewsPost-fight brawl ensues after Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregorUSAhttps://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/24916111/khabib-nurmagomedov-defeats-conor-mcgregor-submission-ufc-229-main-event (accessed on 15 November 2020)
23. NBC SportsMelee at UFC 229 after Nurmagomedov chokes out McGregorUKhttps://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/24916111/khabib-nurmagomedov-defeats-conor-mcgregor-submission-ufc-229-main-event (accessed on 25 November 2020)
24. The New York TimesMcGregor vs. Nurmagomedov: Notorious Is BackUSAhttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/05/sports/conor-mcgregor-khabib-nurmagomedov-ufc-229.html (accessed on 25 November 2020)
25. The Washington PostConor McGregor accuses Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager of being a terroristUSAhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2018/10/05/conor-mcgregor-accuses-khabib-nurmagomedovs-manager-being-terrorist/ (accessed on 25 November 2020)
26. UndefeatedBigotry fueled the Conor McGregor-Khabib Nurmagomedov brawl after UFC 229. The Undefeated. USAhttps://theundefeated.com/features/bigotry-fueled-the-conor-mcgregor-khabib-nurmagomedov-brawl-after-ufc-229/ (accessed on 25 November 2020)
27. Daily MailConor McGregor claims bitter rival Khabib Nurmagomedov will be’s ****ing his pants’ during fight with Justin Gaethje as he jokes that UFC lightweight champion will dive at his opponent’s legs ‘for a good whiff of his jockstrap’UK.https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/mma/article-8591587/Conor-McGregor-claims-Khabib-Nurmagomedov-s-ing-pants-fight-Justin-Gaethje.html (accessed on 25 November 2020)
28. USA TodayKhabib’s manager calls Conor McGregor a ‘horrible human being’USAhttps://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mma/2018/10/07/khabib-manager-says-conor-mcgregor-not-good-guy-ucf-229/1560064002/ (accessed on 25 November 2020)
29. ReutersBrawls overshadow Khabib’s UFC title win over McGregorUKhttps://www.reuters.com/article/us-mma-ufc-ufc229/arrests-after-nurmagomedov-beats-mcgregor-idUSKCN1MH053 (accessed on 25 November 2020)
30. MSNConor McGregor is slammed over ‘racist’ tweet branding Muslim UFC rival Khabib Nurmagomedov’s wife a ‘towel’USAhttps://www.msn.com/en-au/sport/mma/conor-mcgregor-is-slammed-over-racist-tweet-branding-muslim-ufc-rival-khabib-nurmagomedovs-wife-a-towel/ar-BBVyW17 (accessed on 25 November 2020)
31. Fox NewsUFC champ Nurmagomedov a conservative voice in RussiaUSAhttps://www.foxnews.com/world/ufc-champ-nurmagomedov-a-conservative-voice-in-russia (accessed on 25 November 2020)
32. The Guardian‘Politics forever’: McGregor fined $50,000, Nurmagomedov $500,000 for UFC 229 brawlUKhttps://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/jan/29/conor-mcgregor-banned-six-months-khabib-nurmagomedov-brawlufc-229 (accessed on 25 November 2020)
33. The Washington PostConor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov suspended for their UFC 229 brawlUSAhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/01/29/conor-mcgregor-khabib-nurmagomedov-suspended-their-ufc-brawl/ (accessed on 25 November 2020)
34. The Denver PostKhabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor suspended, fined for UFC 229 brawlUSAhttps://www.denverpost.com/2019/01/29/khabib-nurmagomedov-conor-mcgregor-ufc-229-brawl-suspensions/ (accessed on 25 November 2020)
35. Los Angeles TimesConor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov suspended for brawl after UFC 229USAhttps://www.latimes.com/sports/boxing/la-sp-conor-mcgregor-khabib-nurmagomedov-suspended-20190129-story.html (accessed on 25 November 2020)
36. USA TodayKhabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor suspended for UFC 229 brawlUSAhttps://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mma/2019/01/29/khabib-nurmagomedov-conor-mcgregor-suspended-for-ufc-229-brawl/38971999/ (accessed on 25 November 2020)
37. CNNUFC: Conor McGregor comeback ends in defeat amid chaotic scenesUSAhttps://www.cnn.com/2018/10/07/sport/ufc-229-conor-mcgregor-intl/index.html (accessed on 25 November 2020)
38. Business InsiderKhabib Nurmagomedov taunts Conor McGregor by calling him ‘slow’ in his first Instagram since victory.USAhttps://www.businessinsider.in/sports/khabib-nurmagomedov-taunts-conor-mcgregor-by-calling-him-slow-in-his-first-instagram-since-victory/articleshow/66124172.cms (accessed on 25 November 2020)

Appendix C

Table A2. The Snapshot of the Major Eastesrn Media News.
Table A2. The Snapshot of the Major Eastesrn Media News.
OutletsNewspaper/Blog/WebsiteHeadlineOriginSource
39. South China Morning PostUFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov beats Conor McGregor both in the cage and in generosity—as these kindhearted stunts proveChinahttps://www.scmp.com/magazines/style/news-trends/article/3047380/ufc-fighter-khabib-nurmagomedov-beats-conor-mcgregor (accessed on 15 January 2021)
40. South China Morning PostUFC: Khabib and Vladimir Putin throw shade at Conor McGregor as Russian President praises chokeholdChinahttps://www.scmp.com/sport/martial-arts/mixed-martial-arts/article/3027058/ufc-khabib-and-vladimir-putin-throw-shade (accessed on 15 January 2021)
41. Al-QalamKhabib ‘100 times bigger than Mo Salah’ after winning for the Muslim worldSouthern Africa’s Muslim Newspaperhttps://alqalam.co.za/khabib-100-times-bigger-than-mo-salah-after-winning-for-the-muslim-world/ (accessed on 15 January 2021)
42. DNAKhabib Nurmagomedov beats Conor McGregor to retain title at UFC 229Indiahttps://www.dnaindia.com/sports/khabib-nurmagomedov-beats-conor-mcgregor-to-retain-title-at-ufc-229-highlights-and-results-2672522 (accessed on 15 January 2021)
43. The Express TribuneArrests made after Khabib beats McGregorPakistanhttps://tribune.com.pk/story/1820264/arrests-made-khabib-beats-mcgregor (accessed on 15 January 2021)
44. TRT WorldCriticism of Khabib smacks of racismTurkeyhttps://www.trtworld.com/opinion/criticism-of-khabib-smacks-of-racism-20718
45. Al-JazeeraKhabib on UFC McGregor brawl: ‘He talked about my religion’Qatarhttps://www.aljazeera.com/sports/2018/10/07/khabib-on-ufc-mcgregor-brawl-he-talked-about-my-religion/ (accessed on 15 January 2021)
46. The HinduKhabib defeats McGregor to retain title before mayhem mars UFC 229UFC 229: Conor McGregor’s return to UFC after a two-year hiatus ended in a resounding defeat to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.Indiahttps://sportstar.thehindu.com/other-sports/ufc-229-khabib-nurmagomedov-defeats-conor-mcgregor-to-retain-lightweight-title-brawl-erupts-after-fight-highlights-updates/article25148345.ece (accessed on 20 January 2021)
47. Arab NewsKhabib Nurmagomedov claims Conor McGregor make offensive remarks about his Muslim faith after post-fight brawlSaudi Arabiahttps://www.arabnews.com/node/1384006/sport (accessed on 20 January 2021)
48. Kuala Lampur NewsKhabib: Im ready to face Conor McGregorMalaysiahttps://www.kualalumpurnews.net/news/266093940/khabib-im-ready-to-face-conor-mcgregor (accessed on 20 January 2021)
49. DawnMelee at UFC 229 after Nurmagomedov chokes out McGregorPakistanhttps://www.dawn.com/news/1437416 (accessed on 20 January 2021)
50. Daily SabahNurmagomedov, McGregor suspended, fined for UFC 229 brawlTurkeyhttps://www.dailysabah.com/sports/2019/01/31/nurmagomedov-mcgregor-suspended-fined-for-ufc-229-brawl (accessed on 20 January 2021)
51. Khaleej TimesUFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov beats Conor McGregorUAEhttps://www.khaleejtimes.com/photos/sports/ufc-229-khabib-nurmagomedov-beats-conor-mcgregor (accessed on 20 January 2021)
52. The Gulf TimesScurrying rat! That’s what conor mcgregor called khabib nurmagomedov to challenge himQatarhttps://www.gulftimes.com/golf/story/scurrying-rat-thats-what-conor-mcgregor-called-khabib-nurmagomedov-to-challenge-him (accessed on 20 January 2021)
53. Republic World‘Conor McGregor Begged Me Not To Kill Him’: Khabib Nurmagomedov On Their UFC 229 BoutIndiahttps://www.republicworld.com/sports-news/other-sports/mcgregor-begged-me-not-to-kill-him-khabib-on-their-ufc-229-bout.html (accessed on 20 January 2021)
54. RT News‘Revenge will be SWEET’: McGregor team-mate Dillon Danis SLAMS Khabib’s team as COWARDS over footage of infamous UFC brawl (VIDEO)Worldwide (Origin Russia)https://www.rt.com/sport/491661-dillon-danis-mcgregor-khabib/ (accessed on 20 January 2021)
55. Sports KeedaKhabib vs. McGregorIndiahttps://www.sportskeeda.com/mma/khabib-vs-mcgregor (accessed on 20 June 2021)
56. The Express TribuneMcGregor can pass racist and Islamophobic insults, but Nurmagomedov can’t react to it?Pakistanhttps://tribune.com.pk/article/72808/mcgregor-can-pass-racist-and-islamophobic-insults-but-nurmagomedov-cant-react-to-it (accessed on 20 June 2021)
57. TRT WorldKhabib: An unabashedly Muslim champion in an Islamophobic worldTurkeyhttps://www.trtworld.com/opinion/khabib-an-unabashedly-muslim-champion-in-an-islamophobic-world-40866 (accessed on 20 June 2021)

References

  1. Ahmed, Saifuddin, and Jörg Matthes. 2016. Media representation of Muslims and Islam from 2000 to 2015: A meta-analysis. International Communication Gazette 79: 219–44. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  2. Al-Jazeera. 2018. Khabib on UFC McGregor Brawl: ‘He Talked about My Religion’. Al-Jazeera. October 7. Available online: https://www.aljazeera.com/sports/2018/10/07/khabib-on-ufc-mcgregor-brawl-he-talked-about-my-religion/ (accessed on 1 October 2020).
  3. Arab News. 2018. Khabib Nurmagomedov Claims Conor McGregor make Offensive Remarks about His Muslim Faith after Post-Fight Brawl. Arab News. October 7. Available online: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1384006/sport (accessed on 1 November 2020).
  4. Armstrong, Ketra. 2011. ‘Lifting the veils and illuminating the shadows’: Furthering the explorations of race and ethnicity in sport management. Journal of Sport Management 25: 95–106. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  5. Bandyopadhyay, Kausik. 2007. Pakistani Cricket at Crossroads: An Outsider’s Perspective. Sport in Society 10: 101–19. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  6. BBC News. 2018. Khabib Nurmagomedov v Conor McGregor: DAGESTAN Celebrates Win. BBC News. October 8. Available online: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45782513 (accessed on 1 October 2020).
  7. Billingham, Neil. 2014. USA vs. Iran at France ’98: The Most Politically Charged Game in World Cup History. Fourfourtwo.Com. June 6. Available online: https://www.fourfourtwo.com/us/features/usa-vs-iran-france-98-most-politically-charged-game-world-cup-history (accessed on 1 November 2020).
  8. Boston Globe. 2020. Racist Comments by UFC Fighter GOES UNREBUKED, Causes Stir—The Boston Globe. BostonGlobe.Com. September 24. Available online: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/09/24/sports/racist-comments-by-ufc-fighter-goes-unrebuked-causes-stir/ (accessed on 17 September 2021).
  9. Botter, Jeremy. 2018. Khabib Nurmagomedov Brought His Best vs. Conor McGregor; Then We Saw His Worst. Bleacher Report. October 7. Available online: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2799490-khabib-nurmagomedov-brought-his-best-vs-conor-mcgregor-then-we-saw-his-worst (accessed on 1 November 2020).
  10. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1978. Sport and social class. Information (International Social Science Council) 17: 819–40. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  11. Buruma, Ian, and Avishai Margalit. 2005. Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies, reprint ed. London: Penguin Books. [Google Scholar]
  12. Business Insider. 2018a. Vladimir Putin Told Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Father to Cut Him Some Slack after He Incited a Riot at UFC 229. Business Insider. October 11. Available online: https://www.businessinsider.in/Vladimir-Putin-told-Khabib-Nurmagomedovs-father-to-cut-him-some-slack-after-he-incited-a-riot-at-UFC-229/articleshow/66164956.cms (accessed on 1 November 2020).
  13. Business Insider. 2018b. Khabib Nurmagomedov Taunts Conor McGregor by Calling Him “Slow” in His First Instagram Since Victory. Business Insider. October 8. Available online: https://www.businessinsider.in/sports/khabib-nurmagomedov-taunts-conor-mcgregor-by-calling-him-slow-in-his-first-instagram-since-victory/articleshow/66124172.cms (accessed on 1 November 2020).
  14. Business Insider. 2019. Conor McGregor Calls for a Rematch in Moscow after Khabib Nurmagomedov Retains UFC Lightweight Title against Dustin Poirier. Business Insider Nederland. September 8. Available online: https://www.businessinsider.nl/conor-mcgregor-khabib-nurmagomedov-rematch-moscow-2019-9?international=true&r=US (accessed on 1 October 2020).
  15. Considine, Craig. 2017. The Racialization of Islam in the United States: Islamophobia, hate crimes, and “Flying while Brown”. Religions 8: 165. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  16. Corbin, Juliet, and Anslem Strauss. 2008. Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc. [Google Scholar]
  17. Creswell, John. 1998. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing among Five Traditions. Thousand Oaks: SAGE. [Google Scholar]
  18. Dębnicki, Krzysztof. 2016. The Pakistani Identity Constructed in Reaction to the Outside World. Politeja 13: 349–71. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  19. Dyreson, Mark. 2010. Reading American readings of Beijing 2008. In The International Journal of the History of Sport. vol. 27, pp. 2510–29. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  20. Dyreson, Mark. 2012. World Harmony or an athletic ‘Clash of Civilizations’? The Beijing Olympic spectacle, BMX bicycles and the American contours of globalisation. The International Journal of the History of Sport 29: 1231–42. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  21. Elo, Satu, and Helvi Kyngäs. 2008. The qualitative content analysis process. Journal of Advanced Nursing 62: 107–15. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  22. ESPN. 2020. Conor McGregor on Drinking during Khabib Camp, $80 M Payday vs. Cowboy, Boxing Future. ESPN.Com. January 14. Available online: https://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/28471345/conor-mcgregor-drinking-khabib-camp-80m-payday-vs-cowboy-boxing-future (accessed on 1 January 2021).
  23. Fairclough, Norman. 1989. Language and Power. London: Longman. [Google Scholar]
  24. Fairclough, Norman. 1995. Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Longman. [Google Scholar]
  25. Feagin, Joe. 2001. Social Justice and sociology: Agendas for the twenty-first century: Presidential address. American Sociological Review 66: 1. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  26. Feagin, Joe, and Clairece Booher Feagin. 1999. Theoretical perspectives in race and ethnic relations. In Rethinking the Color Line: Readings in Race and Ethnicity. Edited by Gallager Charles. Mountain View: Mayfield, pp. 17–33. [Google Scholar]
  27. Feagin, Joe, and Kimberley Ducey. 2017. Elite White Men Ruling: Who, What, When, Where, and How, 1st ed.Milton Park: Routledge. [Google Scholar]
  28. Gentzkow, Matthew, and Jesse Shapiro. 2004. Media, Education and Anti-Americanism in the Muslim World. Journal of Economic Perspectives 18: 117–33. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  29. Gill, Robin. 2004. Orientalism and Occidentalism: Is the Mistranslation of Culture Inevitable, 2nd printing ed. Biscayne: Paraverse Press. [Google Scholar]
  30. Gordon, Milton. 1964. Assimilation in American Life: The Role of Race, Religion and National Origins, 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Google Scholar]
  31. Haynes, Jeffrey. 2017. Donald Trump, “Judeo-Christian Values”, and the “Clash of Civilizations”. The Review of Faith & International Affairs 15: 66–75. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  32. Haynes, Jeffrey. 2019. Introduction: The “Clash of Civilizations” and relations between the West and the Muslim World. The Review of Faith & International Affairs 17: 1–10. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  33. Huntington, Samuel. 1993. The clash of civilizations? Foreign Affairs 72: 22–49. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  34. Huntington, Samuel. 1996. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon and Schuster. [Google Scholar]
  35. Hussain, Umer, and George Cunningham. 2020. “These are ‘Our’ sports”: Kabaddi and Kho-Kho women athletes from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 1–19. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  36. Irish Examiner. 2018. The UFC Call Him Russian but, Like His Hated Rival, Khabib Is much more Complicated. Irish Examiner. October 5. Available online: https://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/arid-30873697.html (accessed on 1 June 2021).
  37. Lewis, Bernard. 1990. The Roots of Muslim Rage. The Atlantic 1: 47–60. [Google Scholar]
  38. Malcolm, Dominic, Alan Bairner, and Graham Curry. 2010. “Woolmergate”: Cricket and the representation of Islam and Muslims in the British Press. Journal of Sport and Social Issues 34: 215–35. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  39. Moher, David, Alessandro Liberati, Jennifer Tetzlaff, and Douglas Altman. 2009. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: The PRISMA statement. PLoS Medicine 6: e1000097. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  40. Nakamura, Yuka. 2002. Beyond the Hijab: Female Muslims and Physical Activity. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal 11: 21–48. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  41. National Public Radio. 2018. More Than 3100 Migrants Died Crossing MEDITERRANEAN in 2017; National Public Radio. Available online: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/06/576223035/more-than-3-100-migrants-died-crossing-mediterranean-in-2017 (accessed on 1 February 2021).
  42. Newman, Joshua. 2014. Sport without Management. Journal of Sport Management 28: 603–15. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  43. Pugmire, Lance. 2018. Faith comes before fists for Khabib Nurmagomedov. LA Times. Available online: https://www.latimes.com/sports/boxing/la-sp-ufc-khabib-20180405-story.html (accessed on 11 June 2020).
  44. Ratna, Aarti, and Samaya Samie. 2017. Introduction: Sport, race and gender: The politics of ethnic‘other’ girls and women. In Sport, Race and Gender—The Politics of Ethnic ‘Other’ Girls and Women. Edited by Ratna Aarti and Samaya Samie. Milton Park: Routledge, pp. 1–9. [Google Scholar]
  45. Reuters. 2018. Brawls Overshadow Khabib’s UFC Title Win over McGregor. Reuters. October 7. Available online: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mma-ufc-ufc229-brawls/brawls-overshadow-khabibs-ufc-title-win-over-mcgregor-idUSKCN1MH09P (accessed on 1 November 2020).
  46. Roose, Joshua, and Bryan Turner. 2019. Islamophobia, science and the advocacy concept. Society 56: 210–21. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  47. Said, Edward. 1978. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books. [Google Scholar]
  48. Samie, Samaya Farooq. 2013. Hetero-sexy self/body work and basketball: The invisible sporting women of British Pakistani Muslim heritage. South Asian Popular Culture 11: 257–70. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  49. Samie, Samaya Farooq. 2017. De/colonizing ‘sporting Muslim women’: Post-colonial feminist reflections on the dominant portrayal of sporting Muslim women in academic research, public forums and mediated representations. In Sport, Race and Gender—The Politics of Ethnic ‘Other’ Girls and Women. Edited by Ratna Aarti and Samaya Farooq Samie. Milton Park: Routledge, pp. 35–62. [Google Scholar]
  50. Samie, Samaya Farooq, and Sertaç Sehlikoglu. 2014. Strange, incompetent and out-of-place. Feminist Media Studies 15: 363–81. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  51. Samiei, Mohammad. 2010. Neo-Orientalism? The relationship between the West and Islam in our globalised world. Third World Quarterly 31: 1145–60. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  52. Sen, Ronojoy. 2015. Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India. New York City: Columbia University Press. [Google Scholar]
  53. Shahi, Deepshikha. 2017. Understanding Post-9/11 Afghanistan: A Critical Insight into Huntington’s Civilizational Approach (E-IR Open Access). Bristol: E-International Relations. [Google Scholar]
  54. Singer, John, Sally Shaw, Larena Hoeber, Nefertiti Walker, Kwame Agyemang, and Kyle Rich. 2019. Critical conversations about qualitative research in sport management. Journal of Sport Management 33: 50–63. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  55. South China Morning Post. 2019. UFC: Khabib and Vladimir Putin Throw Shade at Conor McGregor as Russian President Praises Chokehold; South China Morning Post. Available online: https://www.scmp.com/sport/martial-arts/mixed-martial-arts/article/3027058/ufc-khabib-and-vladimir-putin-throw-shade (accessed on 1 June 2021).
  56. The New York Times. 2018. Khabib Nurmagomedov Could Face Fine and Suspension after Brawl at UFC 229. The New York Times. Available online: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/sports/mcgregor-khabib-ufc-229.html (accessed on 27 October 2020).
  57. Toffoletti, Kim, and Catherine Palmer. 2017. New approaches for studies of Muslim women and sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 52: 146–63. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  58. Turkish Radio and Television Corporation World. 2018. Criticism of Khabib Smacks of Racism; TRT World. Available online: https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/criticism-of-khabib-smacks-of-racism-20718 (accessed on 1 June 2021).
  59. Turkish Radio and Television Corporation World. 2020. Khabib: An Unabashedly Muslim Champion in an Islamophobic World. TRT World. Available online: https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/khabib-an-unabashedly-muslim-champion-in-an-islamophobic-world-40866 (accessed on 1 June 2021).
  60. UFC. 2019. UFC 229 Generates Record Sums For Las Vegas; UFC. Available online: https://www.ufc.com/news/ufc-229-generates-record-sums-las-vegas (accessed on 1 June 2021).
  61. UFC. 2021. History of UFC. July 23. Available online: https://www.ufc.com/history-ufc (accessed on 17 September 2021).
  62. USA Today. 2019. Conor McGregor Tweets, Deletes Personal Attack on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Wife; USA Today. Available online: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mma/2019/04/02/conor-mcgregor-tweets-deletes-personal-attack-on-khabib-nurmagomedovs-wife/39292123/ (accessed on 10 June 2020).
  63. Venn, Couze. 2000. Occidentalism: Modernity and Subjectivity. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Ltd. [Google Scholar]
  64. Vestnik Kavkaza. 2018. Khabib Nurmagomedov: They Call Me Russian in the West. December 19. Available online: https://vestnikkavkaza.net/news/Khabib-Nurmagomedov-they-call-me-Russian-in-the-West.html (accessed on 17 September 2021).
  65. Zidan, Karim. 2019. Chechen Expansion: How Ramzan Kadyrov Cozying up to UFC Champ Khabib Nurmagomedov Is a Tool for Geopolitical Diplomacy. Bloody Elbow. Available online: https://www.bloodyelbow.com/2019/6/13/18662837/chechen-expansion-ramzan-kadyrov-ufc-champ-khabib-nurmagomedov-politics-karim-zidan-mma-feature (accessed on 5 May 2020).
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Hussain, U. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 229: Orientalism vs. Occidentalism in the Media. Journal. Media. 2021, 2, 657-673. https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia2040039

AMA Style

Hussain U. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 229: Orientalism vs. Occidentalism in the Media. Journalism and Media. 2021; 2(4):657-673. https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia2040039

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hussain, Umer. 2021. "Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 229: Orientalism vs. Occidentalism in the Media" Journalism and Media 2, no. 4: 657-673. https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia2040039

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop