EXCLUSIVE | Javier Mendez finds contradictions in Khabib Nurmagomedov’s NAC punishments

It took the UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov a few months after his massive title defending win over Conor McGregor at UFC 229 to finally receive his fine and suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC).

Of course, the punishments came in response to the post-fight scuffle that ensued following the fight between both Nurmagomedov and McGregor’s camps.

Having been fined $500,000 and suspended for nine months, Nurmagomedov can get his suspension shortened to six months making him eligible to return in April. That is assuming he works with the NAC on an anti-bullying campaign.

However, the champion has since declined to do such suggestions along with saying he won’t return until his teammates Zubair Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov’s one-year suspensions are up. Meaning he wouldn’t be seen until November.

The NAC has also said they’re considering trying to outlaw verbal exchanges between fighters. Something that was obviously a huge part of the build-up to Nurmagomedov and McGregor’s clash… As is the case with most of McGregor fights.

With all this now settled, nothing else can be done but reflect on it and wait. But Nurmagomedov’s longtime coach at the American Kickboxing Academy, Javier Mendez, recently shared with BJ Penn Radio that he believes there were some contradictions in the rulings.

“If you listen to the Nevada [Athletic Commission] they’re saying they condone what he did, they fined him $500,000, but at the same time too they want him to do an anti-bullying thing so he can come back in April,” Mendez said. “And then they’re talking about trying to see what they can do about stopping fighters from doing what Conor did. Okay, so here you are, you’re outright saying that Khabib was being bullied. That’s what they’re saying, and then they want Khabib to do an anti-bullying program?

“It doesn’t make sense. And then you’re charging him $500,000? Okay, and Conor gets $50,000 but yet he’s the one that started the bullying in the first place and all Khabib did was stood up for himself but you want him to do an anti-bullying program. Khabib is going to tell you, ‘Eff you, I’m not doing that. You’ve got this all wrong. I’m not the one that started this, I’m just the one that finished it,'”

Mendez continued on with the notion that the suspension lengths and fine amounts don’t really make sense for who they were given to.

“Number two, you have a situation where his coaches, corner men, sparring partners, they went in after Khabib jumped the cage,” Mendez explained. “His cousin jumped the cage looking to see what he could do to help Khabib, and what does Conor do when he jumps the cage? Conor sucker punches him, so then he fights with Conor and then he gets fined for a year and then $25,000? He didn’t make that kind of money, why are they fining him so much money? Zubaira is looking around trying to see where he can help, he’s not swinging at anybody, and then what does he do? Conor swings at him too.

“It’s kind of like, you fined him a year? If anybody should have got a year it should have been Khabib, not the people that came in to try to help him. I think they did them wrong too, so that’s another reason why he’s not happy. He’s very honorable and he said, ‘I will not fight until my brothers are out of their suspension too and I will not fight in Nevada,’ You know what? As much as I hate it, because I love gambling, I don’t blame him.”

In the end, Mendez doesn’t foresee the UFC stripping Nurmagomedov of his title during the suspension. But an interim title bout wouldn’t surprise him. Presumably pitting Tony Ferguson against Dustin Poirier.

Yet Mendez isn’t so sure if Ferguson would want to take an interim bout after having been stripped of the one he held previously.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/21/2019