Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov receive punishments stemming from UFC 229 brawl
McGregor is eligible to return in April while Nurmagomedov has some extra work to get there
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor were officially suspended and fined by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday for their roles in an infamous UFC 229 post-fight melee.
Nurmagomedov (27-0), who defeated McGregor via fourth-round submission to defend his UFC lightweight title, was suspended nine months and fined $500,000. His suspension can be reduced to six if he cooperates in the filming and distributing of an anti-bullying PSA in conjunction with the Las Vegas Police Department. McGregor (21-4) was handed a six-month suspension and fined $50,000.
Neither fighter was present at the meeting where NSAC commission members voted unanimously on the proposed adjudication agreement drawn up by the Nevada Attorney General and representatives from each of the fighters' teams. Nurmagomedov's fine will be paid out of his $4 million purse for the fight; $2 million was suspended until his hearing.
McGregor, 30, will be eligible to return on April 6. Should he serve the full ninth months, the 30-year-old Nurmagomedov will be eligible on July 6, which typically falls during International Fight Week in Las Vegas as one of the UFC's' biggest pay-per-view cards of the year. Nurmagomedov, however, is a practicing Muslim who observes a self-imposed break during Ramadan (including fasting), which runs from May 5 to June 4 in 2019.
UFC 229 set an MMA record for pay-per-view buys at a reported 2.4 million, largely because of the animosity between the two main event fighters, which escalated considerably in April at UFC 223 in Brooklyn, New York, when McGregor (21-4) made a surprise appearance and attacked a bus full of UFC fighters, including Nurmagomedov, and broke multiple windows with a dolly. Tensions boiled over after the fight when Nurmagomedov threw his mouthpiece at Dillon Danis, a member of McGregor's corner, and leaped over the Octagon wall to attack him. From there, members of Nurmagomedov's team attacked McGregor inside the cage from multiple angles.
Abubakar Nurmagomedov, who jumped the cage wall to punch McGregor, and fellow Nurmagomedov teammate Zubaira Tukhogov were each suspended one year and fined $25,000 for their actions.
Ali Abdelaziz, Nurmagomedov's manager, told ESPN's Ariel Helwani on Tuesday that his fighter will pay the fines for both of his teammates. He also complained about the differences in punishments between McGregor and Nurmagomedov.
"I don't think it's fair," Abdelaziz said. "Khabib gets $500,000 and Conor gets $50,000? I think it's bullshit. [The suspensions], that's fair. They'll both get six months. But for his teammates, it's too much."
NSAC chairman Anthony Marnell described the conduct between both fighters, including the language used during press events ahead of the fight as "embarrassing." He put future fighters on notice for the words they use and threatened fines and suspensions.
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