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NAC to release half of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s $2M UFC 229 purse, extend suspensions for Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor in action at UFC 229 in Las Vegas on Oct. 5
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Khabib Nurmagomedov will see at least part of his UFC 229 payday.

During a meeting of the Nevada Athletic Commission on Wednesday, it was decided that half of Nurmagomedov’s disclosed $2 million purse would be released to the lightweight champion after it was initially withheld due to his involvement in the UFC 229 post-main event melee on Oct. 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The amount was suggested by commission chair Anthony Marnell so that Nurmagomedov might address expenses related to his fight with Conor McGregor.

In regards to the 10-day suspensions that McGregor and Nurmagomedov recently received for their actions following their fight, the commission voted to extend the suspensions throughout the course of the investigation into the events of Oct. 6.

Further sanctions are expected to be ruled on when the commission meets again on Dec. 10. These may include the seizure of a greater percentage of Nurmagomedov’s purse (which was estimated to be $5-6 million after pay-per-view bonuses are accounted for) and also a monetary penalty for McGregor. Marnell mentioned that had he seen the footage of McGregor’s involvement in the incident, which saw McGregor exchange punches with Nurmagomedov’s teammates on top of and inside the cage, then the NAC would likely have withheld McGregor’s purse at the time as well.

McGregor and Nurmagomedov may also be subject to more substantial suspensions from competition.

“I understand that the Nevada State Athletic Commission is doing a thorough investigation, which I am confident will benefit my client, Conor McGregor,” McGregor’s manager Audie Attar said in a statement on Wednesday.

McGregor and Nurmagomedov have been embroiled in one of the most heated rivalries in MMA history. Though tensions between the two were bound to develop due to McGregor winning the UFC lightweight title in November 2016 and Nurmagomedov long being one of the division’s top contenders, their feud rapidly escalated this past April during the fight week for UFC 223.

Days before Nurmagomedov’s lightweight title bout at the April 7 event, Nurmagomedov and associates confronted McGregor’s close friend and teammate Artem Lobov at a hotel in Brooklyn. McGregor would retaliate in force at the following media day, arriving at the Barclays Center loading area with his own group to wreak havoc as fighters were being transported from the venue. In a now infamous clip, McGregor was seen throwing a dolly at a bus that was carrying Nurmagomedov.

The dolly broke a window, causing injuries to UFC fighters Ray Borg and Michael Chiesa, and McGregor would later be charged for assault and criminal mischief. In July, McGregor pled guilty to one count of disorderly conduct and it was ruled he would have to take part community service and anger management, and pay for damages to the UFC bus as his punishment. All criminal charges were dismissed and McGregor received no further sanctions from the UFC.

Tensions continued to rise between McGregor and Nurmagomedov when the two were officially booked to fight at UFC 229 on Oct. 6. Nurmagomedov, now the lightweight champion, and “The Notorious” traded insults for several months over social media and at press conferences, with McGregor casting aspersions at both Nurmagomedov and his manager Ali Abdel-Aziz.

Nurmagomedov would go on to defeat McGregor by fourth-round submission at UFC 229, then leap into the crowd to attack McGregor’s teammate Dillon Danis, an action that Nevada deputy attorney general Carolyn Bateman said was the “catalyst” for much of the chaos that followed.

With additional reporting by Marc Raimondi

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