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Morning Report: Dana White says Khabib Nurmagomedov can’t sit out until the end of the year with lightweight title

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Khabib Nurmagomedov is playing a dangerous game.

Last month, the UFC lightweight champion was handed down a nine month suspension, retroactive to October, for his role in starting a brawl at UFC 229. His punishment also included a option to reduce the suspension by three months if he participated in an anti-bullying public service announcement. Instead, Nurmagomedov has gone the other way, saying not only does he refuse to do the PSA, he also refuses to fight again until the one-year suspension of his teammates, Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov, are over as well and is targeting a November return.

But while solidarity with one’s teammates is commendable, it also could cost him his UFC title.

Speaking at the UFC 234 post-fight press conference, Dana White addressed Nurmagomedov’s recent statements, saying that Khabib will not be allowed to sit on the sideline and hold the lightweight division up for a year.

“Guys can’t sit out and wait that long when you have the title,” White said. “You can’t do it. So if that’s true and he’s going to do that, then we’d have to figure out something else and you start looking at whether it’s Conor McGregor-Tony Ferguson or one of these other guys.”

That’s good news for Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier, the two fighters who have been waiting for months for the NAC to settle affairs with Khabib so they can get their shot at the UFC belt. But whether they would be competing for the undisputed title or an interim belt is unclear and, in typical White fashion, the UFC President did not want to commit to anything just yet.

“When opportunity knocks, answer the door. We’ll see how this thing plays out.”


UFC 234. Israel Adesanya wins entertaining scrap with Anderson Silva at UFC 234.

Bellator. Patricky Freire edges Ryan Scope at Bellator Newcastle.

Contender. Israel Adesanya believes he’s No. 1 contender despite Robert Whittaker pulling out of UFC 234.

Grim. Dana White: If Robert Whittaker’s hernia acted up during UFC 234 fight, ‘it could have been fatal’.

Hardo. Coach: Robert Whittaker wanted to postpone emergency surgery, fight Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234.

Prediction. Donald Cerrone says he’s fighting Conor McGregor this summer, predicts knockout.


UFC 234 post-fight show.

Dana hoping for 3 more for DC.

RDA still looking for that Conor money.

Champ Camp.

TTTHS.


6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to UFC 234.

Severe MMA. Discussing Robert Whittaker’s injury, UFC 234, and Bellator.


Statement.

Conor.

Mad.

Confidence in the new star.

Sounds like a fight.

Ray Borg is just the best dude.

Paul Felder looks to be in the best shape of his life.

Will Brooks hanging with TO.

Good plan. That division is easy pickings.


Michel Prazeres (26-2) vs. Ismail Naurdiev (17-2); UFC Prague, Feb. 23.

Satoru Kitaoka (42-18-9) vs. Roberto Satoshi (8-0); Rizin 15, April 15.

Damien Brown (18-12) vs. Koji Takeda (8-0); Rizin 15, April 15.

Manel Kape (12-4) vs. Seiichiro Ito (12-2-2); Rizin 15, April 15.


2017: Germaine de Randamie became the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champion, taking a unanimous decision over Holly Holm at UFC 208.


That might have been the best performance of Anderson’s career. Given how obviously physically declined he was, he still more than hung in there with one of the best strikers in the sport. What I wouldn’t give to have seen them go at it in Andy’s prime.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


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