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Nevada commission to withhold Khabib Nurmagomedov’s UFC 229 purse pending investigation into brawl

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LAS VEGAS — Khabib Nurmagomedov’s UFC 229 guaranteed pay is being withheld by the Nevada Athletic Commission, pending a “full investigation,” executive director Bob Bennett confirmed with MMA Fighting early Sunday morning.

Nurmagomedov climbed out of the cage following his title win over Conor McGregor at T-Mobile Arena and attacked McGregor’s cornerman Dillon Danis. The incident ignited a wild brawl, including members of Nurmagomedov’s team jumping into the Octagon and attempting to attack McGregor.

Bennett declined to comment on the incident, aside from saying that he and the commission will conduct an investigation on the conduct of all parties involved, including Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov was set to make a guaranteed $2 million purse, plus more from the event’s pay-per-view revenue.

“We’ll leave no stone unturned,” said Bennett, a retired 20-plus year veteran of the FBI.

Once the investigation is completed, Bennett said complaints could then be filed with the Nevada deputy attorney general. That could lead to hearings and sanctions for the men involved if it is found there were any violations of commission violations. Nurmagomedov is likely facing a suspension, UFC president Dana White said. White said he could be stripped of the UFC lightweight title depending on the length of a potential suspension.

“It’s a shame that a great night of fights ended the way it did,” Bennett said.

At the post-fight press conference, Nurmagomedov apologized to the UFC and the state of Nevada. White said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval was in attendance at the fights.

Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor by submission in the fourth round of the UFC 229 main event to retain the UFC lightweight title. It was a card being billed as perhaps the biggest in UFC history, in terms of possible pay-per-view buys.

McGregor and Nurmagomedov, both 30 years old, have a long, heated history. McGregor and dozens of others attacked a UFC fighter bus that Nurmagomedov was on back in April in Brooklyn, in retaliation for Nurmagomedov and his team cornering McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov in the fighter hotel earlier that week.

In that incident, McGregor was arrested on multiple charges. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in July and was given community service.

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