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'We worked it out' - UFC chief plays down Khabib's quit threat

The champion vowed to leave the UFC if the Las Vegas brawl had consequences for his team-mates.

UFC president Dana White (right) with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (file pic).
UFC president Dana White (right) with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (file pic).
Image: John Locher

DANA WHITE HAS played down fears over the prospect of Khabib Nurmagomedov leaving the UFC, insisting that there remains a healthy relationship between the mixed martial arts organisation and its lightweight champion.

Just days after his UFC 229 victory over Conor McGregor, which was overshadowed by a post-fight brawl, Nurmagomedov threatened to quit if the incident had consequences for his team-mates, specifically Zubaira Tukhugov.

After the fight in Las Vegas, Nurmagomedov leapt from the octagon in an attempt to attack Dillon Danis, McGregor’s training partner. During the ensuing melee, McGregor appeared to be struck from behind by Tukhugov.

White said afterwards that any fighter who escalated the situation by entering the octagon would never compete for the organisation again. That prompted Nurmagomedov to issue an ultimatum via social media, in which he stated that he would no longer compete for the UFC if there were repercussions for his colleagues.

“We’re good with Khabib,” White, the UFC president, has told TMZ. “We worked it out. Obviously he was a little upset, a little fired up. We’ll get it all worked out.

“Guys get very emotional. That was a very emotional fight for him, obviously. At the end of the day, Khabib is a great guy. We’ve always had a great relationship with him. It’s all good.”

Tukhugov was scheduled to fight Artem Lobov, Conor McGregor’s team-mate, on a UFC card in Canada on 27 October. However, Lobov’s coach John Kavanagh told ESPN earlier this week that his fighter will instead face a new — and as yet unnamed — opponent instead.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” White said in relation to Tukhugov’s future with the UFC. “We’ll see how it plays out.” 

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Paul Dollery

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