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NAC considering sanctions for verbal instigations after UFC 229 mess

After the UFC 229 build-up that led to the post-fight brawl, the Nevada State Athletic Commission is now looking at imposing sanctions for trash talking gone too far.

Many would agree that Conor McGregor may have gone overboard with his words during the build-up of his UFC 229 title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. “The Notorious” went as far as calling Khabib’s father Abdulmanap a “quivering coward”, which only intensified the animosity between the two fighters and spilled over to the now infamous post-fight brawl.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission already meted out the sanctions for all parties involved, leaving McGregor with a six-month suspension and a $50,000 fine. Khabib, on the other hand, will be suspended for nine months along with a $500,000 fine, which according to the Commission is the heftiest amount for misconduct outside of Mike Tyson.

But according to NAC chairman Anthony Marnell, they are also considering slapping punishments for verbal instigation.

“I don’t think (McGregor) started it, post-fight,” Marnell told MMA Fighting after Tuesday’s meeting. “He certainly may have instigated it, post-fight, but I try to make that clear for the record. I don’t – we don’t go after verbal instigations. Verbal instigations are not where we go, yet.

“Just like oral Turinabol, we’re gonna have to discuss mouthy fighters and the things they say prior to fights and what the consequences are for that.”

UFC president Dana White previously stated that the company isn’t planning on imposing any behavioral guidelines for the rematch between Khabib and McGregor. The NAC, however, is urging the UFC and all other promoters to start taking some action.

“It’s not necessarily a knock on any of the promoters, but the promoters are gonna have to start taking some ownership for this, and putting fighters on a little bit more of a box on how far we can go with this, because we don’t need this,” Marnell said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been called from the industry that said ‘Don’t ever bring that back here.’ And that usually doesn’t happen on Las Vegas Boulevard.

“There’s a moral line here, and it’s been crossed. There’s no question about it. And that’s something that we’re gonna have to address. And we’re not afraid to.”

UFC 229 may have earned Las Vegas a whopping $86.4 million, but according to Marnell, it likely won’t be the same if a similar untoward incident takes place once again.

“I think on that night, people voted with their dollar by paying for it, (but) I think after they saw what could happen after it goes too far, I would say that there’s a lot of dollars that are no longer in favor of it. I know that for a fact.

“I’m a big fan of all the arrows pointed at the same direction,” he added. “And if it’s just good for the UFC, and it’s not good for the T-Mobile, and it’s not good for Las Vegas, then it’s not good for this town.”

Marnell adds that all security measures have been addressed, as the Commission plans to add more Metro police presence in the arena in future UFC fights in Las Vegas.