Nurmagomedov threatens to quit UFC over teammate’s canceled fight
Khabib Nurmagomedov wrote in an extended Instagram post Thursday that he would consider quitting the UFC following the removal of a teammate from an Oct. 27 card in Moncton, Canada.
In the aftermath of a scuffle that followed Nurmagomedov’s fourth-round submission of Conor McGregor on Saturday in Las Vegas, UFC President Dana White said any associate of the lightweight champion who participated would be kicked out of the organization. On Thursday, a UFC spokesman confirmed that Russian featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov, a Nurmagomedov teammate, had been removed from his scheduled co-main event against McGregor teammate Artem Lobov.
Tukhugov has been identified as one of three Nurmagomedov associates detained and then released by Las Vegas police at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.
Nurmagomedov wrote on Instagram: “I would like to address @ufc. Why didn’t you fire anyone when [McGregor’s] team attacked the bus and injured a couple of people? They could have killed someone there, why no one says anything about insulting my homeland, religion, nation, family?”
He added, “If you decide to fire [Tukhugov], you should know that you’ll lose me, too. 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.”
Nurmagomedov’s $2-million guaranteed purse has been withheld by the Nevada Athletic Commission as it reviews what occurred after the fight. Nurmagomedov jumped out of the octagon to pursue a McGregor training member who said derogatory things to him seconds after a chokehold had prompted McGregor to tap out.
Nurmagomedov has one fight remaining on his contract. If his relationship with UFC fractures, Viacom-backed Bellator MMA is likely to spend freely to bring him aboard.
In his Instagram post, Nurmagomedov referenced two previous incidents involving his team and McGregor’s. The first, between Nurmagomedov and Lobov at a Brooklyn hotel in April, was followed by a melee outside the Barclays Center, when McGregor and his associates attacked a bus that was full of UFC fighters, including Nurmagomedov.
Fighters Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg were forced off the Barclay’s card after they were injured by glass shards that flew when McGregor threw a hand truck that struck a bus window.
“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 [McGregor] had started.” Nurmagomedov wrote.
McGregor was arrested and spent a night in jail for his actions, but avoided a felony conviction by accepting a plea deal.
“In any case, punish me. @zubairatukhugov has nothing to do with that,” Nurmagomedov wrote. “If you think that I’ll keep silent then you are mistaken. 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 [other] Brother FIRST, just check the video.
“… And one more thing: you can keep my money that you are withholding. You are pretty busy with that. I hope it won’t get stuck in your throat. We have defended our honor and this is the most important thing. We intend to go to the end. #Brothers”
Both Nurmagomedov and McGregor have been temporarily suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission, pending a Oct. 24 hearing.
Nurmagomedov’s Thursday post drew support from Daniel Cormier, a UFC two-division champion and teammate of Nurmagomedov at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose. He later wrote on Instagram, “@khabib_nurmagomedov is the man! Let em fight @danawhite … manage the riff raff and let these two fight!!!! … Good ... Khabib … I truly don’t understand how anyone would not truly appreciate this level of loyalty from Khabib.”
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.