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Dana White ‘surprised’ by how much the NSAC ‘put on Khabib’ for UFC 229 brawl with Conor McGregor

The UFC President sounds like he was caught off-guard by the high fine levied against Khabib Nurmagomedov for his actions following his win over Conor McGregor at UFC 229.

UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

It sounds like Khabib Nurmagomedov isn’t the only one voicing his displeasure with the recent fines and suspensions levied by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). The Dagestani lightweight champion was hit with a half-million dollar punishment for his part in the 2018 brawl, following UFC 229’s main event — in which Nurmagomedov scaled the Octagon and leapt into the crowd to attack members of Conor McGregor’s fight camp.

‘The Eagle’ was also saddled with a nine-month suspension for his actions. One it sounds like he’s intent on sitting out, even though he could get it reduced to six by participating in an anti-bullying public service announcement for the commission. To UFC president Dana White’s mind, that all seems a “little harsh” (transcript via MMA Fighting)

“I was obviously surprised how much they put on Khabib,” said White in a recent interview on ESPN’s Sports Center. “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.”

“It’s a fight. At the end of the day, it’s a fight,” he continued. “Sometimes you come across people that don’t like each other and there’s a lot of bad blood. That was in the case in this fight. That’s what we do it’s the fight business. These guys are talking about fighters saying mean things to each other and all this other stuff. If you break it down and you go back to when Ali fought Frazier, and you look at the times when it happened, the stuff he said about Frazier and to Frazier was horrible. Horrible things you didn’t say to somebody else back then.”

At the time of the brawl, White said he was “disgusted and sick” over the events of the evening, which included members of Khabib’s camp climbing into the Octagon to attack McGregor as well. However, within a couple weeks, White’s tone notably cooled on the idea of either fighter being severely punished. As he told ESPN in late October, “I was upset about it. I was the only one. The rest of the world could care less...” “Nobody was hurt in this thing and we contained it pretty fast.”

At the same NSAC hearing where Nurmagomedov was handed his punishment, two other members of his entourage - Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov - were handed 1-year suspensions and fined $25,000. In response, Khabib’s manager has claimed that the champ is done fighting in Nevada, and hopes to return to Madison Square Garden in the fall, after Tukhugov’s and Abubakar’s suspensions are completed.

Khabib Nurmagomedov
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Chris Rini

For his role in the October 6th fracas, UFC superstar Conor McGregor was handed a six month suspension and a fine of $50,000.