Khabib 'done' with Las Vegas following suspension, targeting Madison Square Garden comeback
UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will never fight in Las Vegas again following the fine and suspension for inciting the post-fight brawl which marred UFC 229 in October, says the fighter's manager Ali Abdelaziz.
On Tuesday Nurmagomedov was slapped with a nine-month suspension and a $500,000 fine for jumping out of the cage to attack members of Conor McGregor's fight team following his October 6 victory against the Irishman at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Members of the Russian's entourage, UFC fighter Zubaira Tukhugov and Khabib's cousin Abubakar Nurmagomedov, were both handed 12-month suspensions for entering the cage and pursuing altercations with McGregor.Also on rt.com ‘I could smell him a mile away’: McGregor trolls Khabib & team after UFC 229 brawl suspensions
Despite posting an Instagram picture of himself sleeping on a couch following the verdict, implying that he wasn't concerned by the matters being discussed at the Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing, Nurmagomedov appears to be less than happy with their conclusion.
Ali Abdelaziz, Khabib's manager, told Ariel Helwani of ESPN that the 155lb champion will never again fight in the NSAC's jurisdiction - an apparent retaliation for their disciplinary measures against him.
"Khabib doesn't seem all that happy with the decision," Helwani reported. "I just spoke to his manager Ali Abdelaziz and he told me that Khabib will never fight in the state of Nevada again and he hopes to return at Madison Square Garden in November."
This would represent a problem for the UFC as long as Khabib holds their lightweight title, and Nevada is often considered 'the fight capital of the world'. In addition to housing the UFC's headquarters, the state also holds some of its largest events in the T-Mobile Arena, just off the Las Vegas strip.
Nurmagomomedov's Russian manager Rizval Magomevod meanwhile said that the team is "outraged" by the terms of the disqualification of Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov, but they won't appeal the decision, TASS reported.
"Khabib will return at the same time as Abubakar and Tukhugov, not earlier," said Magomedov.
It would mean that more than 13 months will have passed between UFC 229 and Khabib's next title defense and could potentially lead to the UFC creating an interim title in his absence.
McGregor, meanwhile, will be eligible to compete in April after the completion of his six-month suspension, which was backdated to October.Also on rt.com Conor McGregor gets 6-month suspension, fined $50k for his role in UFC 229 chaos