The last day or so has been very eventful for both Khabib Nurmagomedov and for the Straight Blast Gym (SBG) Ireland camp that includes Conor McGregor and Artem Lobov. Ever since the brawl at the end of UFC 229 last October, fans have wondered what kind of punishment the fighters involved would receive. The Nevada State Athletic Commission launched an investigation into the matter, but months passed with no updates. Now, a punishment has finally been handed down.
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Nurmagomedov will be suspended retroactively for nine months and fined $500k, making him eligible for a comeback in July. McGregor will receive a shorter suspension and a $50k fine, and will only have to sit out for six months. It makes him eligible for an April return, due to being applied retroactively. The shorter suspension, of course, is likely because of Nurmagomedov’s side being the aggressors in the brawl.
The main instigator of the brawl, Nurmagomedov cornerman and UFC fighter Zubaira Tukhugov, has been suspended retroactively for one year and has received a $25k suspension. McGregor’s teammate and Bellator fighter Dillon Danis has also been accused by many of having a role in instigating the brawl and will receive a punishment that has not been decided at this point.
However, Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz has said that Khabib doesn’t intend on returning to Nevada even after the suspension is over.
“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 told ESPN.
One of McGregor’s teammates is also out of the UFC, but the recent release has nothing to do with the UFC 229 situation. Artem Lobov is perhaps most well-known by most fans for being one of McGregor’s training partners, and a lot of fans have accused Lobov of benefiting from bias due to that fact. However, it looks like that will no longer be the case. Lobov announced on Twitter that he has left the UFC, and offered his services to other promotions including Bellator, KSW, and ONE Championship.
Lobov has a 13-15-1 career record with one no-contest, and his release is somewhat predictable after he took his third straight loss at Fight Night 138 last October, in a co-main event bout against Michael Johnson. Before that, Lobov took two losses in 2017 against Andre Fili and Cub Swanson, with his most recent win dating back to 2016 against Teruto Ishihara.
It’s certainly been an eventful past 24 hours for both the Nurmagomedov and McGregor camps, but now that the dust has cleared, most fans will look forward to the return of both fighters. Whether or not a rematch happens, the lightweight division and the UFC, in general, is far more interesting when both are active.
Sports writer and photographer in Buffalo, originally from Jersey. Fan first.