The settlements reached between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor with the Nevada Athletic Commission have been approved. At today’s hearing, a proposal of a nine-month suspension along with a $500,000 fine for Nurmagomedov was presented and accepted. The suspension can be reduced to six-months if Nurmagomedov records an anti-bullying PSA. A six-month suspension would make Nurmagomedov available to fight again on April 6, 2019.
McGregor’s suspension was proposed at six-months for his role in the UFC 229 brawl with only a $50,000 fine. No option for a reduction in suspension was presented.
Nurmagomedov cornermen Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov were both given one-year suspensions and $25,000 fines for their roles in the brawl.
With less than three months until the suspensions would be up, it may not be long until we see Nurmagomedov and McGregor booked in their next fights, perhaps even against each other. Nurmagomedov typically doesn’t fight around Ramadan time, which this year runs from May until early June. If UFC wants to make the Nurmagomedov-McGregor rematch, they could try and fast track an event for April or hold off until summer or fall.
Alternatively, UFC could match up McGregor with Donald Cerrone, who has been lobbying for such a fight once the suspension is up, with the winner fighting Nurmagomedov later in the year.
The sanctions have to be considered as close to a best-case scenario as UFC could have hoped for. There will be no need to strip Nurmagomedov of his lightweight championship and both fighters will be free to fight as of April. Considering the frequency top-level fighters fight, a six-month suspension is as good as no suspension when you only fight once or twice a year.
$500,000 is not an insignificant fine for Nurmagomedov, but he will more than make up for it with his next fight, especially if it is a rematch with McGregor. As poor a choice as it was for Nurmagomedov to jump the cage and initiate the brawl, the reality is that it made him a bigger star and in the end, he is going to profit from it.