THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 2/7: Khabib expects interim title fight, Gilbert Melendez says Nick Diaz is retired, Wanderlei Silva comments spark CSAC probe, and more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Oct 6, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov (red gloves) reacts after his fight against Conor McGregor (blue gloves) during UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Khabib books the territory

Khabib Nurmagomedov seems to have a good grasp on how UFC books their championships. Speaking to a Russian media outlet this week, Nurmagomedov says he expects UFC to book an interim lightweight title fight while he serves out the rest of his suspension and then he would face the winner later in the year.

The two men who Nurmagomedov thinks will fight for that interim title? Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier. Not a bad fight by any means and one UFC president Dana White would likely go for. Late last year, White had shown interest in booking a mini four-man tournament with Ferguson, Poirier, Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. With McGregor suspended as well, Ferguson vs. Poirier is the logical fight to make.

UFC hasn’t made their plans known for the lightweight division, but with monthly pay-per-views to sell and no obvious big money fights in the very near future, Nurmagomedov’s plan sounds like it could become reality.

Melendez gives a Diaz update

Close friend of Nick and Nate Diaz was a guest on Chael Sonnen’s podcast recently and he gave an update on the two brothers. Nate, he says, is still training but enjoying the new celebrity lifestyle he has earned since his two fights with Conor McGregor.

“He’s training hard,” Melendez said (transcribed by MMAJunkie). “His brand is huge. He’s so dang famous; the guy’s an A-lister now. Everyone knows him where I go.”

Older brother Nick, on the other hand, appears to be done with fighting.

“I would love to see him come back, but last time I checked, he’s retired,” Melendez said.

Nick was recently booked to fight Jorge Masvidal at UFC 235 next month, but that fight fell apart due to what sounded like poor contract negotiations. Despite the apparent retirement, Melendez says he could see Diaz back in the cage one day.

“If anyone could come back and do it and stay on track and everything, it’s him.”

Just getting him there is the hard part.

Very, very, seriously

The California State Athletic Commission has caught wind of comments Wanderlei Silva has made recently regarding concussion symptoms. Silva told Portal Vale Tudo recently that he identified eight of the ten head trauma symptoms listed at a lecture he was attending on concussions.

“In our time … I believed that the more punches you took, the more you could bear it,” Silva said (transcribed by MMAJunkie). “And it’s the other way around: The more punches you take, the less you can handle at the time of the fight.”

The CSAC heard these comments and they have concerns. This is something they say they are taking “very, very seriously.”

“We’re going to have to make sure he’s neurologically fit to go,” CSAC Executive Director Andy Foster told MMAjunkie. “If fighters say things like this in the press, we have to follow up. He’s welcome to fight here if he’s medically cleared.”

Silva doesn’t have any fights scheduled but Bellator runs in California often, so if Silva plans on fighting again for Bellator, he’ll have to get cleared by the CSAC. He most recently suffered a knockout loss to Rampage Jackson in September.

Thursday Notebook

UFC and DirecTV have failed to come to an agreement to air pay-per-view events. As a result, UFC 234 will not air on the provider. UFC is urging fans to use their online platforms to order the show.

-Bellator held a heated press conference to promote the upcoming Paul Daley-Michael “Venom” Page fight yesterday. “I wouldn’t spit on him if he was on fire,” Page said. Daley replied, “He’s going to lose, he’s going to get knocked out and it’s as simple as that.”

-Ian Heinisch will now fight Tom Breese at UFC London on March 16 in place of Cezar Ferreira.

-Glover Teixeira vs. Ion Cutelaba has been booked for UFC Miami on April 27.

In case you missed it

HYDEN BLOG: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from UFC Fortaleza

MOORE: Top 10 MMA Fighters With The Most Losses






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