CONOR McGregor spent two years keeping the UFC waiting. Now it’s his turn.
The Irishman and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who were under investigation following their post-fight brawl at UFC 229, have had their bans from the fight promotion extended following a hearing on Thursday morning (AEDT).
Nurmagomedov’s behaviour — where he jumped out of the Octagon onto McGregor’s friend Dillon Danis — has been branded “the catalyst for the ensuing chaos”.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission was in charge of this morning’s hearing and decided to release half of Nurmagomedov’s $AUD2.8 million purse, but voted to keep the other half pending the results of the full investigation
A decision on the punishments for both fighters is due in December, when the pair could also be fined.
McGregor’s manager Audie Attar said: “I understand that the Nevada State Athletic Commission is doing a thorough investigation, which I am confident will benefit my client, Conor McGregor.”
The 30-year-old was on top of the sport and one of the most famous athletes in the world when he turned that celebrity into a $42 million payday in a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. He predictably lost that bout and then got choked out by blood rival Nurmagomedov in his return to the UFC earlier this month.
McGregor admitted in an Instagram post that he may have to wait for a rematch with Nurmagomedov, and based on the responses around the sport, he will need patience before he gets another shot at his Russian nemesis.
Read: McGregor breaks silence on UFC shame
Pandemonium broke out after Nurmagomedov’s win over McGregor.Source:Supplied
Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told ESPN: “We have bigger fish to fry. (McGregor is) in the past, we’ve just moved on. Right now he’s zero, he has no value, we don’t care about him, he can move on, enjoy his life, enjoy his family but he should be ashamed of himself for everything he said.
“If this guy’s going to keep talking and ask for a rematch, his family should try to stop him, his team should try to stop him, or they should get a life insurance (policy) for $100 million because he’ll be done.
“I don’t think Dana (White, UFC president) wanted him to fight Khabib too because at the end of the day Conor brings money, but how’re you going to have one of your biggest guys in the sport get killed two times? We know he’s no good. Dana White knows he’s no good. When Dana White made this fight, he knew this fight was going to make money but he knew who was going to get humbled.”
Meanwhile, White said former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson — who gave up his strap because of injury — deserves the chance to reclaim his title against Nurmagomedov, telling ESPN: “I haven’t even thought about a rematch, I know Conor wants a rematch, but we need to do what’s right and what’s fair and we’ll see how that all plays out.
“I mean as a fight fan you gotta go with Tony. Tony had the belt, tweaked his knee, got stripped. This (Conor/Khabib) fight happens, Tony never lost the belt in a fight, neither did Conor, but Conor got the opportunity to fight for the belt. I think Tony gets the next shot.”
McGregor wants a rematch as soon as possible.Source:AP
What’s next for McGregor is less clear. One possibility is completing his trilogy with Nate Diaz after the two split a pair of thrilling battles in 2016. Diaz has not fought in the UFC since his fights with McGregor but was scheduled to make his return to the cage against Dustin Poirier in November at UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden. However, that fight fell apart when Poirier pulled out with a hip injury in early October.
A Diaz showdown would appear to be the most attractive option for McGregor, though the fight comes with huge risks as a loss would all but rule out a rematch with Nurmagomedov. Despite the fact that Nurmagomedov controlled much of the match with McGregor, there would be no shortage of interest in the two meeting again following the post-match madness that dominated the headlines.
McGregor’s opaque future is in stark contrast to his not-so-distant past, when he lorded his fame over the sport, essentially skating free from UFC punishment after he launched a barricade at a bus filled with fighters, including Nurmagomedov, outside a UFC 223 press conference in New York.
Now, the chickens have finally come home to roost for McGregor, and he’s apparently receiving the ultimate punishment: He can no longer control his fate with a snap of a finger.
This article first appeared on the New York Post and was republished with permission
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