Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is a man of principle. The 30-year-old Russian is fiercely loyal to those close to him. When two of his teammates received lengthier suspensions than him for their involvement in the mayhem that followed Nurmagomeov’s UFC 229 title defense against former titleholder Conor McGregor, “The Eagle” decided to sit out until they’re able to return.
Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov reached a settlement with the state of Nevada on Jan. 29 for their involvement in the melee and received a longer suspension than the lightweight champion. Each man was given a 12-month suspension that concludes on Oct. 6, 2019.
Following the fourth-round finish of McGregor, the Nurmagomedov exited the cage and went after McGregor’s teammate Dillon Danis. As the chaos ensued outside of the cage, Nurmagomedov’s teammates entered the octagon and engaged in an altercation with McGregor while event security tried to gain control of the situation.
Nurmagomedov received a nine-month suspension for his actions and was heavily fined. McGregor was given a six-month suspension and a fine for his role. Nurmagomedov could have had his sentence reduced if he participated in an anti-bullying campaign in Nevada. He declined.
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“From what I know from talking to Khabib, he’s pretty much very loyal to his guys and the thing about the suspension is he doesn’t care. He’s like, whatever. If they want me to come back and do an anti-bullying thing, he was the one being bullied. He’s not going to do that,” said Nurmagomedov’s coach Javier Mendez while appearing on the UFC Unfiltered podcast.
“Screw them. That’s his attitude. He ain’t going to fight for them. He says he ain’t going to fight in Vegas.”
Not only has Nurmagomedov indicated that he will not fight in Las Vegas again, he also plans to sit out with his teammates an. The undefeated champion will not return until after his teammates’ suspensions are over.
“He says he won’t come back until his guys are off of suspension, and I kind of have to agree with him. He’s sticking to his guys because all they did was try to defend him,” Mendez said.
Nurmagomedov is also paying the fines for his teammates, so they will not be out of pocket, at least in regard to the Nevada imposed fine.