Who says the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) won’t play ball?
ESPN’s Marc Raimondi is reporting that the governing body of combat sports in Nevada has reduced the suspensions of Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov by 35 days. The two men were handed a year-long suspension for their respective parts in the post-fight brawl with Conor McGregor, which took place shortly after “The Eagle” submitted “Notorious” at UFC 229 last October (video here).
So why does a measly 35 days difference matter?
Khabib Nurmagomedov has stated repeatedly that he would not return to action until the suspensions of his training partners were reduced and were eligible to fight again. With NSAC giving them a lighter sentence, UFC can now take that to the bargaining table to convince “The Eagle” to defend his Lightweight title against Dustin Poirier on September 7, 2019 at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi.
By then, both Abubakar and Zubaira will have served their time, which will now include 10 hours of community service as part of the deal. According to NSAC Chairman Bob Bennett, the team’s request of a lighter sentence was “fair and equitable.”
Khabib himself was handed a nine-month suspension, but he took it upon himself to extend it to a full year and also refused to take a lighter sentence of six months had he taken part in an anti-bullying campaign.
Abubakar and Zubaira were also hit with $25,000 fines, while Khabib had to fork over $500,000 for initiating the madness after he decided to leap over the cage to attack Dillon Danis. Whether or not NSAC’s willingness to play ball in this matter changes Khabib’s thoughts about ever fighting in Las Vegas again, remains to be seen.