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‘The most honorable thing I’ve ever seen’: Cormier hails Khabib for paying teammates’ UFC 229 fines

‘The most honorable thing I’ve ever seen’: Cormier hails Khabib for paying teammates’ UFC 229 fines
UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has paid tribute to lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov for paying his teammates’ fines from the brawl that erupted after he defeated Conor McGregor in October.

Nurmagomedov’s punishment for the mass brawl he set off by vaulting the cage to attack McGregor team member Dillon Danis was confirmed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) in January.

READ MORE: ‘I’d do it again 100 times’: Khabib has zero regrets over infamous UFC 229 cage jump

The Russian was slapped with a nine-month backdated ban and $500,000 fine, while his teammates Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov were hit with backdated year-long bans and fines of $25,000 each for brawling with McGregor inside the octagon.

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Nurmagomedov responded to the sanctions by vowing to pay the pair’s fines and stand in solidarity with them by not taking to the octagon again until their suspensions have expired on October 6 of this year.

Cormier was cageside in Las Vegas supporting Khabib as the drama unfolded that night, and attempted to calm the Russian after tempers erupted.  

Appearing on The MMA Hour last week, he paid tribute to Khabib’s act of generosity in paying out for his team.   

“I think that Khabib is doing the most honorable thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Cormier, who trains with the undefeated Russian at the hallowed American Kickboxing Academy.

“Not many guys will pay the fine, the 500 grand, also pay the fines of your teammates and brothers. He’s paying their money too. Whatever they fine [Abubakar and Tukhugov], he’s gonna pay it too,” the 39-year-old former ‘champ champ’ added.

READ MORE: ‘They allow prostitution & drugs’: Khabib snubs Nevada ban reduction offer in scathing attack

“Those are his brothers. They were acting to help him, I guess. They’re suspended longer, he will sit with them. That’s one thing about those guys and their lifestyle and their community is that they are family at the highest level and what he’s doing is so honorable.

“Not many people would do that. He’s doing it with the idea that even if they take his title, it does not mean more to him than standing next to his brothers. It doesn’t get any better than that. I appreciate it. I do think the fine was steep. Whatever.

“I’m very proud of him. I’m proud of the man that Khabib has become from the moment he walked into AKA to who he is today,” Cormier added.

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Reports on Saturday confirmed that Nurmagomedov had already paid his fine and those of his teammates.

"The Nevada State Athletic Commission has already received the fine. Moreover, just as Khabib promised, he covered the fines of his peers ($50,000) and lawyer's services ($200,000)," a representative of the team said, TASS reported.

McGregor escaped comparatively lightly for his role in the fracas, being handed a six-month backdated ban and $50,000 fine. 

Undefeated Russian lightweight champ Nurmagomedov – who boasts a record of 27-0 – is pondering his next steps in the cage, with a potential blockbuster fight mooted against Canadian MMA legend Georges St-Pierre.

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The Dagestani native has also teased a potential crossover fight with boxing great Floyd Mayweather. 

Cormier, meanwhile, is plotting the course to his retirement and said he could fight beyond his 40th birthday, lining up a money-spinning bout against WWE star and former UFC champion Brock Lesnar.

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