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Dana White: Khabib Nurmagomedov getting suspended more than a year ‘would not be fair’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Judgment day in front of the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) is coming soon for Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor.

Both UFC stars are facing fines and suspensions for their roles in the UFC 229 post-fight brawl in October. Nurmagomedov bolted from the Octagon after his submission win over McGregor and attacked McGregor’s cornerman Dillon Danis, igniting a melee. McGregor got into it with several members of Nurmagomedov’s team, who jumped into the cage.

On Friday night, UFC president Dana White was asked what his worst-case scenario was for Nurmagomedov in front of the commission. Nurmagomedov is the UFC’s lightweight champion and the top of division is somewhat on hold waiting for his disciplinary hearing Dec. 10. In White’s estimation, if the NAC were to suspend Nurmagomedov more than a year, that would be out of line.

“I can’t see them giving Khabib over a year,” White said in a post-fight scrum (h/t MMA Weekly) following the TUF 28 Finale at the Palms in Las Vegas. … “If it’s over a year, c’mon man. That would not be fair. The whole thing was over in 40 seconds, nobody got touched, nobody got hurt. Nothing happened. I think that the commission has to send a message and I hope it’s not over a year. I don’t think that would be fair.”

Danis and Nurmagomedov’s teammates Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov are also facing sanctions from the NAC following the brawl. McGregor threw a punch at Abubakar Nurmagomedov while they were both on the top of the cage after Khabib jumped at Danis. Tukhugov hopped into the Octagon and exchanged blows with McGregor seconds later. Nurmagomedov’s teammate Esedulla Emiragaev then climbed into the cage and punched McGregor from behind before the incident was broken up by security, Las Vegas Metro Police and NAC inspectors.

White said Friday night that Tony Ferguson is the most likely next challenger for Nurmagomedov and he “deserves” it. Ferguson finished Anthony Pettis on the same UFC 229 card that saw Nurmagomedov beat McGregor.

Despite the unknown with the NAC and the lack of clarity with regards to the lightweight division, White said he’s not concerned with how it might shake out.

“I have a job to do,” White said. “I’ve gotta make fights, no matter who’s here and who’s not. I have to make fights, so I will continue to make fights until we find out what the suspensions are and then when the suspensions are laid down, I will still continue to make fights until they come back.”

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