Back in January, UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov was finally punished for his role in the wild brawl that followed his UFC 229 victory over Conor McGregor. The Dagestani champion received a $500,000 fine and a nine-month suspension, which can be reduced to six months if he completes an anti-bullying PSA approved by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
Nurmagomedov will not be partaking in the NSAC’s proposed PSA — he recently made his thoughts on that quite clear. Furthermore, the champ claims he plans to sit out until November, standing in solidarity with his teammates Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov, who were suspended for one year for their roles in the brawl.
UFC President Dana White has seen the reports that Khabib Nurmagomedov plans to sit out until November, but he says he hasn’t actually heard anything to this end from Nurmagomedov himself.
“I hear these things, but Khabib hasn’t told me that (he’s going to sit out),” White told MMAjunkie after the pre-fight press conference for UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia. “I hear these things in the media and things like that. I haven’t heard it from Khabib, so when we talk, we’ll figure it out and we’ll see what happens.”
Whatever the case, the UFC boss is adamant that a fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and his long-time rival Tony Ferguson is still the fight to make.
“Of course Tony deserves it,” White said bluntly. “He’s the No. 1 contender. He’s the guy. That’s the fight.”
Of course, if Nurmagomedov does wind up sitting out, that could create some problems for Ferguson who is unlikely willing to wait 11 months for his title shot. Stay tuned for further details on this situation as they emerge.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/8/2019.