'UFC won't take part in Khabib's boxing event this summer'- Russian boxing chief
Khabib Nurmagomedov's recent $500,000 fine and 9-month ban may be a blessing in disguise for UFC lightweight champion, who can now move away from MMA and earn more lucrative deals elsewhere, says Russian boxing boss Umar Kremlev.
After Khabib dropped yet another hint to his possible boxing match in Russia, by making a post with the head of Russia's boxing governing body, Umar Kremlev, on his Instagram, captioned "This summer, Luzhniki," RT Sport called Kremlev to find out more about their meeting and plans.
"We've met to discuss his transferring to boxing. He will start training in boxing soon. Plus we discussed organizing of his boxing fight in Russia," the head of the Russian Boxing Federation said over the phone.
"I can't yet reveal the name of his opponent as negotiations are still ongoing. But we want to organize his fight in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium right before the Boxing World Championship, which will also happen in Russia this year (in September - RT Sport)."
Luzhniki Stadium, the highest capacity sporting arena in Russia, was the venue for the Russia 2018 World Cup opening game and final and would certainly attract a marquee name from the boxing world. Kremlev, however, claimed that boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. is not the only star candidate for a fight with the undefeated MMA fighter.Also on rt.com 'We'll set a PPV record!': Khabib holds talks for Mayweather fight in Moscow, wants dad in corner
"I doesn't have to be Mayweather, it could be (Manny) Pacquiao, or some other big name from boxing," Kremlev said. "For a fight like this we expect to attract over 100,000 fans to the stadium. Plus I think we'll have to make some sort of fan zones for people who won't get to the arena. So it will be attractive for a lot of boxers."
Although Nurmagomedov still has one fight left on his contract with the UFC, and is not able to return to the octagon until after summer due to the nine month disqualification by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his role in the post-fight brawl after UFC 229, Kremlev says that shouldn't disturb those plans.
"This event will be organized without the UFC. Khabib will figure out his relationship with the UFC himself. Maybe they will even break the contract. That's what I would do at least. After all those unfair decisions, when one side is harshly punished and the other side is getting away without any penalties.
"I know that with this event Khabib can make ten times as much money, and can become ten times more famous than in the UFC. Plus boxing has much better culture and traditions (compared to MMA)," he added.
According to the official, his governing body is looking to take care of all the aspects of the event including copyright-related matters, and not planning to seek help from external parties.
"We (the Russian Boxing Federation) will take care of the distribution of the broadcast ourselves. Last year we were organizing the World Boxing Super Series, and everything went smoothly, so we know how to work in this business," Kremlev concluded.Also on rt.com 'Summer, Moscow, Luzhniki': Khabib once again fuels talk about Mayweather fight