Khabib may not fight in Las Vegas again

Russian reportedly upset with disparity in fines and bans for brawl following Conor fight

Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia holding down Conor McGregor of Ireland in their UFC lightweight championship bout during UFC 229 in Las Vegas in October last year.
Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia holding down Conor McGregor of Ireland in their UFC lightweight championship bout during UFC 229 in Las Vegas in October last year.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LAS VEGAS • Khabib Nurmagomedov is reportedly "done" with fighting in Las Vegas after his teammates were handed a year-long suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday.

That was what his manager Ali Abdelaziz told ESPN's Ariel Helwani. The decision came after Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov received the stiffest punishments for their part in the ugly scenes that followed the end of the UFC 229 event on Oct 6.

Khabib submitted Conor McGregor to extend his undefeated streak to 27 wins, but the bout, one of the most lucrative in Ultimate Fighting Championship history, was marred by chaotic scenes, with brawls spreading into the crowd.

On Tuesday, McGregor was fined US$50,000 (S$68,000) and suspended for six months while Khabib was docked US$500,000 and banned for nine months. Both fines will be deducted from their purse from the fight.

While all the suspensions have been backdated to October, Khabib has decided to show solidarity with his compatriots.

According to Helwani, he will "not fight until their suspensions are over and is now targeting a return to action at (New York's) Madison Square Garden in November".

That would render a possible three-month reduction in his ban as pointless - the offer was put forth to him if he recorded an anti-bullying message for the Las Vegas Police Department.

  • 10x 

    Khabib Nurmagomedov's US$500,000 fine versus Conor McGregor's US$50,000

  • 1.5x 

    Nurmagomedov's nine-month suspension versus McGregor's six months.

Khabib has been left seething at the disparity in fines, with the 30-year-old responding by simply tweeting "politics forever".

Abdelaziz also blasted that "it is b***s***". He added: "I don't think it's fair. Khabib gets $500k and Conor gets $50k?"

But unlike Khabib, McGregor and his manager Audie Attar appeared contrite for the incidents that transpired after his last fight.

Attar said in a statement: "We are grateful to the commission for its serious focus and the decision, which will allow fans to see their favourite fighter return to the Octagon."

The Irishman yesterday tweeted: "I am thankful for the Nevada Athletic Commission's fair assessment and handling of the brawl incident.

"It was not my intention to land the final blow of the night on my opponent's blood relative. It's just how it played out. I look forward to competing again soon."

In a follow-up tweet, he posted two pictures of the melee which showed him counter-punching one of Khabib's teammates and said: "Straight left hand inside the attackers jab. He attempted to use the big security guard that's in all the movies as cover, but I could smell him a mile away and landed flush down the pipe."

In typical brash fashion, he had a parting shot for his unbeaten opponent's camp, claiming he still landed "the final blow of the night (at) UFC 229 in association with McGregor Sports and Entertainment".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 31, 2019, with the headline 'Khabib may not fight in Las Vegas again'. Subscribe