Khabib Nurmagomedov leaves conference before Conor McGregor shows up

LAS VEGAS -- Conor McGregor is notoriously late for most UFC-related obligations. If he has to be at a news conference or open workout at a certain time, there is a good chance he will show up at least a half-hour late.

Khabib Nurmagomedov was not going to wait Thursday.

The lightweight champion took the stage at the Park Theater at exactly 3 p.m. for a scheduled news conference with McGregor and UFC president Dana White. He picked up a microphone and said, "It's 3 p.m., this conference is beginning."

White was still in the back when Nurmagomedov came out, and the UFC official live stream was in the middle of a commercial and planning to run an intro with music before going straight to the podium.

"Conor's not here yet and Khabib said he's not going to wait," White said after rushing out after Nurmagomedov. "He wants to start the press conference without him."

Nurmagomedov, who will fight McGregor at UFC 229 on Saturday night, answered questions for 15 minutes before leaving. White stalled for 10 minutes before McGregor finally arrived to the theater at 3:25 p.m.

"I don't need to wait for nobody. This is 3 p.m. Fans is here, media is here, everybody is here," Nurmagomedov said. "... I don't think about him. I have a schedule; 3 p.m. this conference has to begin because I have schedule. I have to make weight. I have to worry about myself. Why [do] I have to think about him, [if] he comes or not? If somebody is late, it is not my problem."

Not having McGregor and Nurmagomedov on the same stage at the same time, answering questions and facing off two days before arguably the biggest fight in UFC history, would seemingly be a problem for the UFC. But White was not overly concerned with McGregor's late arrival after Nurmagomedov had already left.

"They're gonna see them face off [Friday], when it really counts," White said, referring to the weigh-in. "When we know that they both made weight, they're both mentally wherever they are after these weight cuts going into Saturday. You cannot deny that the weigh-ins on Friday are the best day other than the fight when they square off."

When McGregor did arrive, he received a standing ovation from the crowd at the Park Theater and handed White a bottle of his new signature whiskey.

"[Nurmagomedov] knew what he f---ing signed up for. I've been later than this," McGregor said. "The traffic is a little heavy. There must be a McGregor fight going on. I don't know where he is. He's better off running anyway. ... He didn't say anything the last time. Whatever. It is what it is."

"I did not plan this," McGregor added. "I tried to get here. I'm only a couple minutes late. ... He doesn't want to be around me. He doesn't want to be around these people. He is petrified."

While Nurmagomedov and McGregor did not see each other on the stage Thursday, their mutual dislike was evident when they spoke about their fight.

"Honestly for me, this is more than defending my title. For me, it's more than fight for the title, more than main event. For me, it's personal. Honestly, for me it's personal," Nurmagomedov said. "Of course this is biggest fight in UFC history and we're going to break record numbers ... but for me it's personal."

McGregor and Nurmagomedov both said they would not shake each other's hands regardless of the outcome and that the rivalry between the two would extend past Saturday.

"There is way deeper s--- than just a fight on Saturday night," McGregor said. "I'm going to settle this the noble way for myself and then see what happens after that ... F--- peace. There will never be peace here. I always say you should aim for peace but if you can't aim for peace, aim between the eyes. I'm gonna to aim right between that man's eyes and this is never over. Never, ever, ever, over."