NSAC Ruling: McGregor and Nurmagomedov Officially Fined and Suspended
On Tuesday, the Nevada State Athletic Commission closed their near 4-month investigation by voting unanimously to suspend UFC fighters Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov for their post-fight brawl following UFC 229 last October.
The NSAC handed down a 6-month suspension and $50,000 dollar fine to McGregor. Nurmagomedov’s punishment was more severe as he received a 9-month suspension and a $500,000 dollar fine.
Nurmagomedov had a very brief tweet in response to the ruling, “politics forever.” Khabib’s manager went into a vulgar laced tirade over the disparity in fines. Nurmagomedov was fined 10-times the amount Conor McGregor was fined.
Nevertheless, the UFC and the commissioners of other state athletic commissions have offered their respect and support to the NSAC’s ruling. They will all uphold this decision.
When Will They Be Eligible to Fight?
There is a silver lining to this ruling. The NSAC made the suspensions retroactive to October 6th, the date of the UFC 229 event. This means that Conor McGregor is eligible to return on April 6th.
Nurmagomedov will be eligible to return on July 6th. However, Khabib can return by April 6th as well, if he participates in an anti-bullying campaign. This puts both fighters in line for fights against different opponents by the summertime if Khabib fulfills his conditions.
A Recap of the NSAC Investigation
Following the UFC 229 main event, Nurmagomedov jumped into the crowd and went after one of McGregor’s teammates Dillon Danis. It sparked the wildest scene in the history of the UFC. A brawl ensued in the crowd with law enforcement rushing in to break things up. Meanwhile, inside the cage, two of Khabib’s teammates jumped into the octagon and attacked McGregor.
Immediately after the event, the Nevada State Athletic Commission opened up an investigation. Both McGregor and Nurmagomedov were suspended and their portion of the fight purse was held. Eventually, McGregor got his back and Khabib will end up losing 1/3rd of his purse to fines for himself and his teammates.
For Danis’ part in the melee, his investigation and punishment will be held at a later date. Danis is not with the UFC, he fights for Bellator. Khabib’s teammates Abubakar Nurmagomedov, his cousin, and Zubaira Tukhugov each received a $25,000 dollar fine and a one-year suspension. Khabib will reportedly pay their fines.
Now that the investigation is officially closed, the UFC can begin planning for each fighter’s next matchup.
Will There Be a Nurmagomedov vs McGregor Rematch?
Yes, but most likely later this year. Perhaps, headlining UFC’s end of the year event. Both fighters have expressed interest in a rematch, but the UFC wants to put these two in other matches first. Earlier this month, Dana White made the following comments about a possible rematch:
“Yeah, I do. Obviously, guys are going to have to win and it depends how long the suspensions are, but yeah, as long as everything goes right this fight should happen.”
What did Dana White mean by “guys are going to have to win”? Simply put, Dana wants these two superstars to fight other opponents first, win those fights, and then have a rematch.
Who Will Nurmagomedov Fight Next?
This question is easy to answer – Tony Ferguson. The two men were lined up to fight on a few different occasions, but each time the fight was called off due to a Ferguson injury. Tony fought on the UFC 229 card and impressively won his match. Since then, Dana White has been angling for a match between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title. This fight could happen anywhere between May and July depending on each fighter’s health and Khabib’s suspension. Following this bout, the winner would be in line for a big money fight against McGregor later in the year.
Will McGregor Fight Cerrone Next?
Over the last month, one name has emerged as a potential opponent for McGregor – Donald “the Cowboy” Cerrone. UFC’s all-time winningest fighter had an impressive victory at UFC on ESPN +1 two weeks ago. Cerrone pummeled the younger prospect Alexander Hernandez and prompted some flattering comments from McGregor:
“For a fight like that Donald, I’ll fight you. Congratulations.”
Conor’s acknowledging of a potential fight against Cerrone lit up social media as UFC fans were buzzing over this possible fight. And don’t think Cerrone isn’t doing his part to make this fight happen. The Cowboy has been publicly lobbying for this matchup. From his post-fight comments to interviews, Cerrone is doing all he can to make it happen.
Currently, most MMA betting sites view McGregor as the favorite as he’s listed at -200 odds. Cerrone is a sizeable underdog at +160 odds. These betting odds have increased since first being released earlier this month when Conor was a -185 favorite and Cerrone was a +150 underdog.
This fight makes a lot of sense, and it will make a lot of money too. It’s a matchup of the UFC’s two most popular fighters.
Despite being away from the UFC for nearly two years, McGregor proved he was still the biggest draw in MMA as UFC 229 set records with over 20,000 fans in attendance, over $17.1 million dollars in ticket revenue, and over $86 million dollars in total economic output.
Can you imagine the financial success if Cerrone and McGregor square off against each other? I believe it could come close to breaking these UFC 229 numbers as fans from both camps will fill any arena the fight in.
I would expect the UFC to announce fight plans for Nurmagomedov and McGregor in the very near future.
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