Current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov received his punishment for his involvement in the UFC 229 post-fight melee and it was quite hefty. The reigning champion was hit with a $500,000 fine and a 9-month suspension which could be reduced to six months if he does an anti-bullying PSA per the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but Nurmagomedov doesn’t seem willing to do business with Nevada.
Following the news of his punishment, Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz said that the lightweight champion is “done” fighting in Nevada. Abdelaziz added in a statement to ESPN that Nurmagomedov would like to fight in New York when he does return because the city has always been good to him.
“He’s done with Vegas for giving his brothers such harsh punishment. He loves MSG. Lots of his fans live around there, and New York has always been good to him. He misses fighting in New York.”
Abdelaziz also added that Nurmagomedov would not return to action until his teammates were cleared to return. Those teammates, Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov were both given one-year suspensions and $25,000 fines for their roles in the post-fight melee.
The suspension for all parties involved are retroactive to UFC 229 which means Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov aren’t able to return until at least October 6, 2019 which would also mean that if Khabib Nurmagomedov stuck to his word, he wouldn’t return until at least that same date. With his interested focused on a fight at Madison Square Garden, it is possible that the lightweight champion will be on the sidelines until November.
Since 2016 the UFC has held events in November at Madison Square Garden in New York City and that would mean the champion would hold himself out of action until a potential fight could be made for the UFC’s return to MSG.
Nurmagomedov has had some great success in the state of New York as he defeated Michael Johnson at UFC 205 in the promotion’s debut event at MSG, and he won the lightweight championship at UFC 223 against Al Iaquinta which was held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.