It looks like it’s going to be July before Khabib Nurmagomedov is cleared to fight.
In an interview with Russian-language website Sportbox.ru (hat tip to BloodyElbow.com), the UFC lightweight champion scoffed at a three-month discount offered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in exchange for an anti-bullying PSA.
“The state of Nevada is where drugs, prostitution and gambling are officially permitted,” Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC) said. “Let them work on themselves.”
The commission sought to leverage Nurmagomedov’s star for a good cause after the champ’s now-infamous brawl at UFC 229, offering a settlement that included a $500,000 fine and nine-month suspension – retroactive to the Oct. 6 event – with a discount for participating in the campaign.
Nurmagomedov must pay the remainder of his fine in order to have his name taken off an ABC database that tracks disciplinary actions against fighters. As long as his name remains, he could, in theory, be blocked from fighting in North America.
UFC President Dana White called Nurmagomedov’s financial penalty “a little harsh.” The commission had also withheld half of the lightweight star’s disclosed $2 million purse immediately after the fight, and took the fine from a portion of the money held up.
White initially hoped to pair Nurmagomedov with former interim champ Tony Ferguson, but then pivoted to a rematch with former two-division titleholder Conor McGregor, who was suspended six months and fined $50,000 for his role in the melee.
Nurmagomedov told Sportbox he expects Ferguson to face off with surging contender Dustin Poirier for an interim title. He’s picking Ferguson to win for a title unifier at the end of this year.
If it weren’t for the commission, Nurmagomedov said, he’d be back in the octagon sooner. The champ is “done” fighting in the state, according to his longtime manager Ali Abdelaziz, and is targeting a November return at Madison Square Garden in New York.
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
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