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Morning Report: Javier Mendez blasts NAC after Khabib Nurmagomedov’s ‘ridiculous’ $500,000 fine

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

When Khabib Nurmagomedov jumped out of the cage at UFC 226 to go after Conor McGregor’s team, he did more than just start a brawl that became international news and laid the ground work for the most lucrative rematch in MMA history, he also cost himself a half million dollars.

Last month, Nurmagomedov finally received his punishment for his role in the post-fight brawl at UFC 226 and it was a hefty one: a $500,000 fine and a nine-month suspension from competition, with the possibility of reducing the suspension by three months if Khabib participates in an anti-bullying public service announcement. In comparison, Conor McGregor was only fined $50,000 and received a six-month suspension. In light of that, many felt the punishment for Nurmagomedov was excessive, including Khabib’s coach at American Kickboxing Academy, Javier Mendez.

“Yeah, you know, it’s just an unfortunate thing,” Mendez told Submission Radio recently. “It’s unfortunate Khabib jumped out of the cage and did something he shouldn’t have, but the fortunate thing is they broke that thing up. Nobody got hurt, 34 seconds, how come you’re sending out such a strong message? The commission there fining by him $500,000, which is just f’n ridiculous.”

Nurmagomedov and McGregor were not the only people suspended though. Khabib’s teammates, Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov were each issued one-year suspensions and $25,000 fines for their roles in the brawl, which Mendez also believes is excessive considering how everything went down.

“Number one, nobody got hurt, it was contained,” Mendez said. “You fine him $500,000? That number was a big giant, huge slap in the face to him. Number two, his cousin jumps on the cage after that goes on and is up on top of the cage going to go over where Khabib is at, Conor is on the cage, takes a shot at him, hits him in the eye. He was blindsided, he blindsided him. Hits him in the eye, now they’re starting to fight. And so now his cousin gets fined one year for getting punched in the face and only fighting back. Okay, so now you’re fining him a year, $25,000 – which is still ridiculous compared how much they’re making.

“Number two, Zubaira, he’s walking around looking from side to side, looking what’s going on. Conor swings at him cause Conor feels threatened. And I’m not blaming Conor for anything, cause he’s trying to protect his boys too, but then he swings at Zubaira and Zubaira gets fined for a year.”

The consistency of the punishments is a little lacking. After all, Nurmagomedov was the one who incited the brawl and somehow received a lesser suspension than his two teammates. A cynical person might make some assumptions about why the NAC gave Khabib an opportunity to come off suspension at the same time as McGregor. Of course, that doesn’t matter now as Nurmagomedov has stated he will not fight in Nevada again and that he intends to sit out in solidarity with his teammates for the duration of their suspensions. It’s a decision that has caught backlash from some in the MMA community but one Mendez fully supports, especially given the NAC’s hypocrisy.

“Khabib gets fined only nine months, plus if he does anti-bullying or whatever, he gets three months off so he can fight when Conor can fight,” Mendez said. “Okay, but now you’re telling the guy that was bullied two months out by verbally assaulting his family, his religion and his country that you need to do an anti-bulling slogan? F you! I ain’t doing nothing. And I support that one hundred percent. I’m not doing nothing for you.

“And to make my point one hundred percent clear, they stated they would like to do a thing where they can stop fighters from talking like that, like Conor did. Okay, so you acknowledge that Conor’s talking started this, but then you fine my guy $500,000, you fine his teammates a year and a bigger sum of money compared to what they make, but yet you think you’re doing something right? No, F’ them. Khabib’s right, 100 percent right. I stand right behind what he did. I would do it all over myself. Unfortunately for me, like I said, I love gambling, that sucks for me, but I stand by what he’s doing.”

Meanwhile, with Nurmagomedov in self-imposed exile until November, the UFC is moving forward with their lightweight division, with a rumored bout between Tony Ferguson and featherweight champion Max Holloway, reportedly in the works for an interim title sometime later this year. And if that does actually happen, Mendez says that’s perfectly fine with him, just so long as the UFC doesn’t try to strip Khabib.

“They have to do what’s gonna sell so if it’s an interim belt, then great,” Mendez said. “They’re not stripping Khabib so who cares? I don’t care. It’s an interim belt, it’s not the real thing. It’s an interest for fans, whatever. Khabib’s not being stripped. He’s not done anything that deserves being stripped. So yeah, let them do what they need to do to make their business grow.”


MUST-READ STORIES

GOAT. Georges St-Pierre announces retirement from MMA.

Plans. Georges St-Pierre wanted Khabib Nurmagomedov fight, but ‘UFC had other plans’.

Out. Two-division champion Amanda Nunes rules out fighting at UFC 237.

155. Jose Aldo eyes UFC 237 fight with Alexander Volkanovski, but still open to lightweight bout.

Bracket. ONE reveals bracket for Flyweight World Grand Prix, featuring Demetrious Johnson.


VIDEO STEW

The MMA Beat.

GSP retirement reaction.

Timeline for the career of the great Georges St-Pierre.

Kang coming in with the GSP highlights.

TWood talking about fighting GSP on TMZ.


LISTEN UP

Heavy Hands. Previewing the underwhelming UFC Prague card.

It’s Time. Bruce Buffer chats with MMA coach Ray Longo.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

GOAT.

So much GSP love.

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A study in greatness: The most important people in our lives are those who give us an example of what is possible so that we can lift ourselves higher. They don’t give us THINGS, they give us IDEALS; and those ideals can move us from within to become better people. Georges St-Pierre was the single greatest example of a positive athletic role model I ever met in my career. Every dojo or training partner he walked into or befriended was lifted by his appearance. Starting off as an unknown youngster from Quebec, he fought his way to the top of the fight worlds toughest division and beat the best of three generations of welterweights and then came back from an initial retirement to win the title at middleweight. Along the way he exhibited the highest standards of character and professionalism in an often wild sport. He ushered in the modern era of professionalism in preparation for MMA athletes to replace the traditional martial arts methodologies used by previous generations of competitors. Nobody did more to elevate the standing of the sport in the public eye as it grew from its bloodsport beginnings into the most popular combat sport in the world. He was an innovator who staked his career on the paradigm shift from single style specialists to what he stood for - integrated skills where the primary emphasis was on the interface BETWEEN skill sets rather than over emphasis on any one skill set. This enabled him to outwrestle wrestlers, outstrike strikers and dominate Jiu Jitsu champions on the floor. He was not the best at any one of those skills - he was the best at integrating them with a speed and direction that no one could keep up with. He defeated all his opponents, dominated every re-match he ever took and shut down the toughest opponents to a degree what was utterly astounding. It was the greatest privilege of my coaching career to be a small part of this great mans ascent to the top of martial arts. Through all the time i knew him and i have no doubt all the way into the future - He was a martial artist first and an MMA athlete second. This made him a perpetual student, a generous teacher and a truly noble fighter. Thank you, Georges, from all of us

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Wow, and Chael is retiring too?

Her eggo is preggo.

RDA.

Ready to fight.

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@ufc Make this . I’ll be ready anywhere anytime

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Goals.

Respect.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Demetrious Johnson (27-3-1) vs. Yuya Wakamatsu (10-3); ONE Championship, March 31.

Kairat Akhmetov (25-2) vs. Reece McLaren (12-5); ONE Championship, March 31.

Tatsumitsu Wada (20-10-2) vs. Ivanildo Delfino (8-0); ONE Championship, March 31.

Danny Kingad (11-1) vs. Andrew Leone (8-4); ONE Championship, March 31.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2014: Ronda Rousey knocked out Sara McMann with a knee to the body at UFC 170. In the co-main event, Daniel Cormier made his light heavyweight debut, knocking out Patrick Cummins.


FINAL THOUGHTS

We’ve got a UFC and a Bellator this weekend and even though they aren’t the best, it’s still better than nothing. Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all on Monday.


EXIT POLL

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