UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov vowed he would not return to the cage until his teammates’ suspensions for the UFC 229 post-fight brawl were over. Now that Khabib’s teammates have indeed gotten their bans shortened, ‘The Eagle’ can return.
MMA Junkie reported today that Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) executive director Bob Bennett informed them that the current suspensions of Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov have been reduced by 35 days. The reduction will potentially allow Khabib and Tukhugov to compete at September 7’s UFC 242 from Abu Dhabi.
Khabib is rumored to defend his title against Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 242. The fight has not been officially announced as of yet. The undefeated champion previously promised he would not fight until his teammates were cleared. Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Tukhugov were at the center of the controversial post-fight brawl after Khabib’s submission win over Conor McGregor at UFC 229.
Back To Business
Their manager, Ali Abdelaziz, opened up to MMA Junkie about the reduction:
“It’s been a rough process that cost us a lot of money and time. I’m glad it’s over. Now Abubakar and Zubaira can get back to do what they love to do and pursue their dreams. I want to thank Mr. Hunter Campbell for his help throughout the process. Without him, this couldn’t happen.”
Both reportedly asked for the 35-day reduction. They did so on the basis on the commission’s failure to initially offer community service instead of a longer suspension.
Bennett called the request “fair and equitable” before approving a new agreement. Both fighters will have already served nearly 11 months of their original one-year ban when all is said and done. They’ll also complete 10 hours of community service assisting youth. Bennett revealed the fighters plan to finish that community service by the end of next month.
He opened up on that dynamic with the following:
“Provided it is significant and productive for the youth, upon my approval and recommendation to the commission, the commission would then reduce their suspension 35 days, thus allowing them to fight on or after Sept. 2.”
Tukhugov was removed from a scheduled grudge match with Artem Lobov earlier this year due to his pending NSAC sanctions. He was last seen way back in May 2016, when he lost to Renato Moicano. He also accepted a two-year suspension from USADA in February 2018 that dated back to September 2016. Abubakar Nurmagomedov last competed in the PFL last October.
Both fighters have now had their suspension reduced upon request. Perhaps more importantly, it could facilitate Khabib’s return against ‘The Diamond’ at UFC 242.