Ignore Floyd-Khabib talk: UFC chief

LOS ANGELES • Floyd Mayweather has not contacted the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) about a boxing match with Khabib Nurmagomedov despite both sides talking up the prospect, UFC president Dana White told ESPN in a website posting on Friday.

"Don't pay attention to it," the mixed martial arts promotion boss said. "The Mayweather team has not approached us at all. Khabib is under contract with the UFC.

"Floyd is very good at getting his name back out there when he's ready."

Russian Nurmagomedov retained his UFC lightweight crown two weeks ago with a submission victory over arguably the sport's biggest name, Conor McGregor, to improve his record to 27-0.

The UFC 229 event generated the second-highest live gate in MMA history at US$17.2 million (S$23.7 million) and, according to White, had record pay-per-view numbers of "over two million", eclipsing UFC 202's 1.65 million.

Mayweather came out of retirement last year to box McGregor and stopped him in the 10th round in Las Vegas to raise his record to 50-0.

Nurmagomedov told Mayweather's adviser Leonard Ellerbe in an online video that "we have to fight" while the American told TMZ earlier this week that his team could "make it happen".

While Nurmagomedov's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told ESPN that his fighter would "respect the contract" with UFC, he also added: "We're open if Floyd wants to box Khabib. You have a guy who is 50-0, a guy who is 27-0, both have never tasted defeat.

"Khabib brings 2.5 billion Muslims around the world, and they're behind him. Floyd 'Money' Mayweather is a megastar. If the two forces clash, that's a real fight."

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has suspended Nurmagomedov temporarily for his post-fight conduct, climbing out of the Octagon and fighting with members of McGregor's entourage. Possible disciplinary measures include a ban into next year and a fine, with a decision expected by next month.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 21, 2018, with the headline 'Ignore Floyd-Khabib talk: UFC chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe