Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is fired up and angry at the UFC, saying he’ll exit the promotion should teammate Zubaira Tukhugov be cut for his actions at UFC 229.
Another day, another wrinkle in the debacle that followed the main event of UFC 229. In a lengthy open letter addressed to the UFC on Instagram, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has gone on the offensive, threatening to leave the promotion should the UFC cut teammate Zubaira Tukhugov. Tukhugov, who was set to return at UFC Moncton later this month following a two-year suspension by USADA, has the dubious distinction of being the only fighter involved in the UFC 229 brawl to have admitted, on video, to premeditated assault.
While no official announcement has been made, Nurmagomedov claims the UFC has now cancelled Tukhogov’s fight with Conor McGregor’s own teammate, Artem Lobov. The champion also argues that someone should have been cut after McGregor and his team attacked a bus housing Khabib prior to UFC 223. That attack came after Nurmagomedov and his entourage corned Lobov in a hotel lobby earlier that week in April.
Nurmagomedov’s letter reads as follows:
I would like to address @ufc
Why didn’t you fire anyone when their 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?
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 he had started.
In any case, punish me, @zubairatukhugov has nothing to do with that.
If you think that I’ll keep silent then you are mistaken. You canceled 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 another Brother FIRST, just check the video.
if you decide to fire him, 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.
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.
The money comment is actually misleading, as the UFC has nothing to do with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s purse being withheld. That decision was made by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after reviewing footage of the incident, in which the UFC lightweight champ, who submitted Conor McGregor moments earlier, scales the octagon fence to attack the Irish fighter’s teammate, Dillion Danis.
Claims would later turn up online that Danis was making racially charged statements towards Khabib from outside the cage. However, Danis has denied the claim, and no video of the alleged comments has turned up thus far. Neither Danis, nor any of this teammates, were arrested following the incident. Three of Khabib’s associates were taken into custody, but all were released when McGregor refused to press charges. The NSAC is currently investigating McGregor, Nurmagomedov, an unnamed third party, and possibly others who entered the octagon following UFC 229.
The UFC has not commented on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s statements thus far.