UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has been treated to a hero’s welcome since returning to his native Dagestan. The undefeated force defeated Conor McGregor in the highly anticipated UFC 229 main event, although the win was marred by the ensuing post-fight scuffles, which began after Khabib left the Octagon to confront McGregor’s teammate, Dillon Danis.
As Nurmagomedov awaits a potential fine and suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission, “The Eagle” and his father Abdulmanap met with Russian president Vladimir Putin, in video captured on Wednesday.
Путин поздравил Хабиба Нурмагомедова с победой. Сказал, что попросит его отца сильно не наказывать спортсмена? pic.twitter.com/F1rw3PZXAw
— Кремлевский пул РИА (@Kremlinpool_RIA) October 10, 2018
According to RT, Putin congratulated Khabib on his “worthy and convincing” victory against the Irish star, and did address the post-fight brawl, indicating that while he didn’t support what happened, he understood the situation.
Touching on the ugly scenes that followed the fight – when Nurmagomedov leapt over the cage to confront McGregor team member Dillon Danis, apparently after being goaded – Putin said that while it was best to keep emotions in check, “anyone could have jumped [from the cage] in the same way.”
“If we are attacked from the outside, not only you, we could all jump in such a way… there could be hell to pay,” Putin told Khabib and his father, Abdulmanap, at a meeting on the sidelines of the ‘Russia – Country of Sports’ forum in the city of Ulyanovsk.
“But it’s better not to reach that stage,” Putin added, prompting smiles from Khabib and his father, as the pair nodded in agreement.
Abdulmanap did say that his punishment for his son would be “tougher than the UFC’s,” but Putin said “I will ask your father not to punish you too strictly, because you achieved the main task.”