MMA: I slapped Conor McGregor as promised, says Zubaira Tukhugov

The UFC lightweight championship bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov (left) and Conor McGregor on Saturday night was marred by a post-fight brawl during which the latter was hit from behind by the Russian's sparring partner Zubaira Tukhugov. Featherweig
The UFC lightweight championship bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov (left) and Conor McGregor on Saturday night was marred by a post-fight brawl during which the latter was hit from behind by the Russian's sparring partner Zubaira Tukhugov. Featherweight fighter Tukhugov is likely to be dismissed by the mixed martial arts promotion.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Nurmagomedov's sparring partner faces dismissal but still wants to fight McGregor

LAS VEGAS • In what was almost certainly the final act of his Ultimate Fighting Championship career, Zubaira Tukhugov climbed into the Octagon and attacked Conor McGregor during the chaos that followed the latter's loss on Saturday night to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.

An apparently unrepentant Tukhugov took to social media on Sunday to say that in striking the Irishman, he had followed through on a promise.

"I slapped him as promised," Tukhugov said in a Twitter video that was posted and translated in part by Karim Zidan, the editor of MMA blog Bloody Elbow. "I promised to make him answer for his words, and I did."

The Russian was among three members of Nurmagomedov's entourage detained in the wake of the post-fight melee that marred the UFC lightweight champion's victory in the much-hyped event.

The men were reportedly released after McGregor declined to press charges, but it is likely just a matter of time before Tukhugov is formally dismissed from the mixed martial arts promotion.

Following the melee, UFC president Dana White vowed that whoever jumped into the Octagon to attack McGregor "will never fight" in the promotion again.

Tukhugov's last UFC fight was a loss to Renato Moicano in May 2016.

He had been scheduled to face off against McGregor's teammate and close friend Artem Lobov at UFC Fight Night 138 on Oct 28, but that bout looks to be off the cards now, according to The Sports Network's Aaron Bronsteter.

But, even if Tukhugov is no longer welcome in the UFC, the featherweight fighter said he still has a score to settle with McGregor and is keen to take on the 30-year-old in an unsanctioned bout.

The 27-year-old explained that he had been deeply offended by McGregor's comments in an Instagram post last month which referred to Nurmagomedov's confrontation with Lobov in early April and said Tukhugov was not "a true Chechen" for siding with his Dagestani-born teammate.

Nurmagomedov's US$2 million (S$2.75 million) winner's purse has been withheld by the Nevada Athletic Commission pending an investigation into the fracas.

But the Russian has continued his verbal assault on McGregor on social media, even with White indicating that a lengthy ban could cost him his belt,

Nurmagomedov goaded his vanquished opponent on his Instagram yesterday, calling him "slow" and claimed he had "said everything (in the cage) on Oct 6".

His manager, Ali Abdelaziz, also broke his silence over the melee, lauding Nurmagomedov as the "one King" before mocking McGregor as "an amateur".

Nurmagomedov may have run afoul of his father Abdulmanap as well.

In his post-victory interview, the unbeaten fighter admitted his father, who was not in Vegas after being denied a visa, would "smash him when he goes home".

Abdulmanap later told Russian channel RenTV that there would be repercussions.

"I will be very hard on this. I warned him. For me, discipline comes first. You do whatever you want in the Octagon but outside, there are children, women and strangers. Over the Octagon, (there) should be a peaceful existence," he added.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2018, with the headline 'I slapped Conor as promised: Tukhugov'. Print Edition | Subscribe