The manager for Khabib Nurmagomedov says the UFC lightweight champion will meet with the Nevada Athletic Commission in the near future and stress that the regulators consider all the acrimony that preceded him leaping the octagon to pursue a member of Conor McGregor’s team Saturday night at UFC 229.
Russia’s Nurmagomedov defeated former two-division champion McGregor by fourth-round submission at T-Mobile Arena, then arose to hear confrontational words from someone believed to be McGregor’s training partner, Dillon Danis, and went over the cage to confront him, throwing punches.
“Khabib should not have jumped the fence, for his own safety and protection, but everybody forgets Conor tried to kill 20 people on the bus,” Nurmadomedov manager and friend Ali Abdelaziz told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, referencing McGregor’s April hand-truck attack of a bus in Brooklyn occupied by Nurmagomedov and several UFC fighters.
“Conor [later] talked about Khabib’s father. He talked about his [Islamic] religion. He talked about people being terrorists.… When you talk about countries, about people being dogs, and then after, you have your corner talking [stuff] cageside to Khabib.
“You can’t bite a dog, and not expect to get bitten. You can’t play by fire and not expect to get burned. This Conor McGregor is not a good guy. He’s a horrible human being.”
McGregor spent a night in jail and was charged with two felonies before striking a plea deal to avoid further incarceration in New York. He returned to fight six months and one day after that episode.
UFC President Dana White said after the Nurmagomedov incident that he’s concerned, with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval watching inside the arena, the state commission may suspend Nurmagomedov for an extended period, forcing the UFC to either strip his belt or make an interim title fight in his absence.
Abdelaziz said Nurmagomedov met with Sandoval and his family before the fight, and he’s hopeful the impact of that heartfelt meeting will resonate. The commission has launched an investigation, led by Executive Director Bob Bennett, who spent 24 years in the FBI.
“The only thing Khabib did was jump the fence. How are they going to take his belt?” Abdelaziz asked. “We apologize to the Nevada Athletic Commission. When Conor did his thing, New York didn’t give him a suspension. Nevada didn’t give him a suspension. Conor got a slap on the wrist. You’re going to kill Khabib for jumping over the fence when nobody got hurt? Guys got hurt in the Conor thing.”
The UFC promoted the fight with footage of the Brooklyn bus attack, and titled its promotional television show about the fight as “Bad Blood.”
“Let’s be real, man. The UFC promoted this fight with the videos. They didn’t promote this as going to a golf tournament. They promoted this as a fight,” Abdelaziz said. “Conor said he came to Brooklyn to try to kill this man. He said in the press conference, ‘There is no peace ever.’ When you put this pressure on people and you have your corner talking [stuff] ….”
Abdelaziz said the man who jumped into the cage and hit McGregor in the back of the head with two punches was “a fan … if we know him or not, doesn’t matter … he’s not part of the team, not a licensed corner, not our responsibility.”
He added footage of the post-fight bedlam will reveal McGregor struck Nurmagomedov’s brother in the octagon.
McGregor tweeted that the bout was a “good knock” and he anticipates a rematch.