Khabib Nurmagomedov, the UFC undisputed and undefeated lightweight champion, will not be stripped of his UFC title, according to mixed martial arts journalist Ariel Helwani.
The Russian who defeated Conor McGregor in style, was still enraged even after his victory. Leading up to the fight, McGregor had insulted Khabib’s Muslim faith, his father and country, not to mention his violent attack on Khabib’s bus which nearly blinded one of the Russian’s entourage. So it is no surprise that Khabib was going to react in some way. Little did spectators expect Khabib to react in and outside the ring.
After his dominant victory over McGregor, Khabib appeared to be in a heated argument with one of McGregor’s team-mate Dillon Danis who was outside the ring. The Russian then jumped out of the octagon and attacked Danis, which sparked a mass brawl between both fighters’ entourages.
The UFC 229 main event was billed as the “biggest fight in UFC history” and the company’s president, Dana White, labelled the scenes as “disgusting”.
Khabib took exception to McGregor’s pre-fight trash talk. Khabib later apologised to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), who sanctioned the Las Vegas bout, and admitted: “This is not my best side.”
Won’t be stripped of title
In reply to a question asking whether Khabib wouldn’t be stripped of his lightweight strap, White said: “No it’s not 100 per cent.
“The thing is, we’re regulated by the NSAC… The NSAC is going to go after [Nurmagomedov], I’m sure, pretty hard. He doesn’t have to worry about me right now.”
UFC journalist Helwani believes White is completely unbothered by the incident and wouldn’t dream of stripping Nurmagomedov, because it would be bad business.
“[A lot of people are] counting on Dana to do the right thing and strip Khabib of the belt. I can assure you, none of that is going to happen,” Helwani said.
“[Dana White] is an owner and he’s going to do what’s best for business… So he’s not trying to set a moral standard here.
“Khabib Nurmagomedov is a huge star, he’s a huge draw. Nothing is going to happen to him as far as the UFC is concerned. That’s my prediction.”
Helwani did concede, however, that the NSAC may rule their gavel against the undefeated champion.
“As far as the NSAC is concerned, they have every right – because he is a sanctioned fighter, because he jumped out of the cage, because he incited all of this – to fine him or suspend him,” he added.
“But again, even if they suspend him for six to nine months, he only fights every six to nine months, so what would that really do?
“I don’t expect any huge fallout in terms of suspensions or things like that.
“This is the fight game and unfortunately these things happen, and this is one of those times where we can’t compare it to the ‘regular sports’, if you will.”