Las Vegas: Khabib Nurmagomedov took only seconds to savour the fulfilment of his years-long ambition to defeat Conor McGregor and cement his status as the undisputed UFC lightweight champion.
He then turned back to the anger that fuelled his preparation for the fight and made his resounding victory a footnote by leaping out of the octagon and attacking a member of McGregor’s team.
The head of the Nevada Athletic Commission, Bob Bennett, told the Los Angeles Times he’s launching a “comprehensive investigation” of the incident, and UFC President Dana White said late Saturday it would not be surprising if Nurmagomedov receives a lengthy suspension and has his belt stripped.
“The governor [Brian Sandoval] was here. When the governor’s in the room and goes running out... the governor oversees the commission, so I’m sure it’s going to be ugly,” White said.
“Some people love that... but for me, it’s a bad night.”
White said any other UFC fighters involved in the brawl would not fight in the organisation again. However, that would deprive him of an October 27 fight between Nurmagomedov’s teammate Zubaira Tukhugov and Artem Lobov, one of McGregor’s best friends. Tukhugov was a participant in Saturday night’s fracas. In April, McGregor came to Lobov’s defence when his colleague was confronted by Nurmagomedov in Brooklyn.
No fighter can jump out of the octagon to attack someone without harsh repercussions. The episode worsened when an unidentified associate of Nurmagomedov jumped into the cage and struck McGregor with two sucker punches to the back of the head. Three associates of Nurmagomedov were handcuffed by police inside T-Mobile Arena, White said, but when McGregor declined to file charges, they were released.
The commission has withheld Nurmagomedov’s guaranteed $2 million purse check indefinitely, and it’s unclear whether law enforcement will pursue charges.
“We have to see what happens... can these guys get visas and get back in the country? And I mean Khabib,” White said. “The biggest night of the year, and I’m disgusted.”