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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 9 December, 2019

Dana White rules out Russia as a potential venue for Khabib-McGregor fight

The UFC boss is unsure of when McGregor will return to the octagon as he prepares for a court date in June.

Ex-UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.
Ex-UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.
Image: Marcel Thomas

UFC PRESIDENT DANA White says the organisation is adopting a wait-and-see approach when it comes to any potential punishment for Conor McGregor as a result of a controversial incident which occurred prior to an event in Brooklyn earlier this month.

A couple of days before Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 to win the lightweight title that was once McGregor’s, the Dubliner and several associates attacked a bus which was carrying UFC fighters, including Nurmagomedov.

It’s understood that McGregor was attempting to exact retribution over an incident that took place earlier that week, when a verbal altercation ensued as Artem Lobov — McGregor’s team-mate — was cornered by Nurmagomedov and members of his team.

Video footage appeared to show McGregor throwing a hand truck through the window of the bus. He appeared in Brooklyn Criminal Court to face charges of criminal mischief, misdemeanor assault and menacing and reckless endangerment. The 29-year-old was released on bail but is scheduled to return for a hearing on 14 June.

In spite of White’s initial assertion that the incident was “the most disgusting thing in UFC history”, the mixed martial arts promotion has yet to take any disciplinary action against its most valuable athlete, who hasn’t competed in MMA since November 2016.

White told TMZ that the UFC will wait until McGregor’s legal issues are resolved before considering if the former featherweight and lightweight title-holder will be subjected to any internal sanctions.

“We’ll see,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. He’s got to be punished by the law first. Let’s see what happens in New York.”

White is subsequently unsure of when McGregor will return to the octagon, but Nurmagomedov seems likely to be his next opponent when that time arrives.

The UFC is currently in the process of attempting to arrange an event in Nurmagomedov’s native Russia for the first time, and while there had been speculation that Moscow could play host to a fight between McGregor and the new lightweight champion, White insists that only one venue would make sense.

“If you do a fight that big, you’ve got to do it in Vegas,” he said. “Khabib will fight in Russia at some point, but it won’t be that fight. It’s too big. You’ve got to do it in Vegas.”

The UFC has its headquarters in Las Vegas, where it also stages its most lucrative events. Five of McGregor’s 10 UFC bouts have taken place in the Nevada city.

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Paul Dollery

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