WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/30: McGregor, Nurmagomedov and Dana White react to NAC suspensions, Jon Jones granted license to fight at UFC 235 but with additional testing, much more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Oct 5, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor are separated by Dana White during weigh-ins for UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

This is far from over

The news that Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov have both been suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission for their roles in the UFC 229 post-fight brawl did not come and go quietly. McGregor was handed a six-month suspension and a $50,000 fine while Nurmagomedov was suspended for nine months and fined $500,000. Nurmagomedov’s suspension can be reduced to six months if he records an anti-bullying public service announcement for the state.

McGregor released a cleverly passive-aggressive statement through Twitter Wednesday morning, thanking the commission while taking another dig at Nurmagomedov and his allies.

“I am thankful for the Nevada Athletic Commission’s fair assessment and handling of the brawl incident,” McGregor tweeted. “It was not my intention to land the final blow of the night on my opponent’s blood relative. It’s just how it played out. I look forward to competing again soon. Thank you all.”

McGregor will be eligible to compete again on April 6. No fight has been announced but he certainly has options.

Nurmagomedov didn’t have as much to say but he did release a tweet on Tuesday, simply saying “politics forever.” While it would seem like shooting an anti-bullying PSA would be easy work to have his suspension reduced, one has to wonder if Nurmagomedov can bring himself to do so and if he’d rather just sit out the extra three months.

Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, had a little more to say regarding the Nevada sanctions. According to Abdelaziz, Nurmagoedov will not be fighting in Nevada moving forward and he is not happy with the one-year suspensions handed to his two teammates for their roles in the brawl.

“He’s done with Vegas for giving his brothers such harsh punishment,” Abdelaziz told ESPN. “He loves MSG [Madison Square Garden]. Lots of his fans live around there, and New York has always been good to him. He misses fighting in New York.”

Meanwhile, UFC president Dana White appeared on ESPN to voice his displeasure with the punishments.

“I was obviously surprised how much they put on Khabib,” White said on SportsCenter Tuesday night (transcribed by MMAFighting). “It was a half-million dollars and six months if he does some PSAs. They had the whole thing contained in seconds. It was a little harsh in my opinion. It is what it is.”

What White fails to mention is that the fine and suspension were negotiated ahead of time with Nurmagomedov, his representation, and the NAC, which is why it was laid down so easily.

With so much bad blood still simmering on the surface, it appears that the feud between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov is far from over.

Jones granted a license for UFC 235

Also on the docket yesterday was a hearing for Jon Jones. Jones was scheduled to fight in Las Vegas last month, but his UFC 232 fight with Alexander Gustafsson was moved to California the week of the event after some “abnormal” findings were discovered in his pre-fight drug test results. Ultimately, Nevada did grant Jones a license to fight at UFC 235 in March, but not without stipulation.

Jones will be drug tested at least twice a month between now and March 2 and at his own expense.

“This is on you,” NAC chairman Anthony Marnell told Jones (transcribed by MMAFighting). “It’s on your shoulders. I like what I hear, I like what I see, but the proof’s in the pudding. So I’m happy that you’re back here, you’ll always be treated with respect here, and I wanted to make sure that you understood that today. Welcome back to Nevada, and do the right thing from this point going forward. As you know, we’re going to be visiting you frequently.”

As soon as Jones was granted his license, UFC was quick to announce Jones’ fight with Anthony Smith as official. If nothing else, the regular tests with expedited results should give us more information regarding the speculated “pulsing” effect of Turinabol in Jones’ system.

Wednesday Notebook

-With everything settling regarding Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dustin Poirier tweeted that he’s only interested in fights with either McGregor or Tony Ferguson.

-Saturday’s Bellator 214 averaged 697,000 viewers peaking at 1.2 million for Ryan Bader’s KO win over Fedor Emelianenko.

Artem Lobov has been granted his release from UFC and has been expressing interest in fighting for Bellator, RIZIN, ONE FC, among others including boxing or kickboxing.

Fight Announcements

-Dias Colares vs. Geraldo de Freitas Jr. has been added to Saturday’s UFC event from Fortaleza, Brazil.

-Arnold Allen vs. Jordan Rinaldi is booked for UFC London on March 16.



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