Khabib threat­ens to leave

Daily Dispatch - - Sport -

Un­beaten Khabib Nur­magome­dov threat­ened to leave the UFC on Thurs­day if the MMA pro­mot­ers fire team­mate Zubaira Tukhugov for strik­ing Conor McGre­gor in a post-fight melee Satur­day.

Nur­magome­dov, a 30year-old Rus­sian, kept his UFC light­weight crown with a fourth-round sub­mis­sion vic­tory over Ire­land’s McGre­gor in Las Ve­gas, im­prov­ing to 27-0 in his pro­fes­sional ca­reer and 11-0 in UFC bouts.

Af­ter the vic­tory, Nur­magome­dov climbed out of the Oc­tagon and went into the crowd to at­tack a mem­ber of McGre­gor’s en­tourage who had been heck­ling him through­out the fight.

Tukhugov, who is from Chech­nya, was seen in a brief ex­change with McGre­gor dur­ing the post-fight brawl. McGre­gor was con­fronted by three mem­bers of Nur­magome­dov’s team in the melee, but later said he would not press charges.

Tukhugov had been sched­uled to fight a team­mate of McGre­gor, Artem Lobov, later this month but that bout was can­celled.

Nur­magome­dov told the UFC in no un­cer­tain terms that any move to cut ties with Tukhugov would see him fol­low his team­mate away from the UFC.

“If you de­cide to fire him, you should know that you’ll lose me too,” Nur­magome­dov posted on In­sta­gram and Twit­ter.

“We never give up on our brothers in Rus­sia and I will go to the end for my Brother. If you still de­cide to fire him, don’t for­get to send me my bro­ken con­tract, oth­er­wise I’ll break it my­self.

“You can­celled Zubaira’s fight and you want to dis­miss him just be­cause he hit Conor. But don’t for­get that it was Conor who had hit my an­other Brother FIRST, just check the video.”

The Ne­vada Ath­letic Com­mis­sion (NAC) is with­hold­ing Nur­magome­dov’s $2m (R28.95m) prize money while it in­ves­ti­gates the post-fight brawl.

Nur­magome­dov could face a fine and sus­pen­sion from the NAC for his ac­tions af­ter the fight, although UFC pres­i­dent Dana White said he would not be stripped of his ti­tle for the post-fight fi­asco.

McGre­gor tossed a steel dolly through a win­dow on Nur­magome­dov’s bus in April in New York, a provo­ca­tion the Rus­sian noted in his mes­sage.

“I would like to ad­dress @ufc. Why didn’t you fire any­one when their team at­tacked the bus and in­jured a cou­ple of peo­ple? They could have killed some­one there,” he said.

“Why no-one says any­thing about in­sult­ing my home­land, re­li­gion, na­tion, fam­ily? Why do you have to pun­ish my team, when both teams fought. If you say that I started it, then I do not agree, I fin­ished what he had started.” — AFP

KHABIB NUR­MAGOME­DOV

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