Morning Report: Dana White says Khabib Nurmagomedov can’t sit out until the end of the year with lightweight title

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Khabib Nurmagomedov is playing a dangerous game.

Last month, the UFC lightweight champion was handed down a nine month suspension, retroactive to October, for his role in starting a brawl at UFC 229. His punishment also included a option to reduce the suspension by three months if he participated in an anti-bullying public service announcement. Instead, Nurmagomedov has gone the other way, saying not only does he refuse to do the PSA, he also refuses to fight again until the one-year suspension of his teammates, Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov, are over as well and is targeting a November return.

But while solidarity with one’s teammates is commendable, it also could cost him his UFC title.

Speaking at the UFC 234 post-fight press conference, Dana White addressed Nurmagomedov’s recent statements, saying that Khabib will not be allowed to sit on the sideline and hold the lightweight division up for a year.

“Guys can’t sit out and wait that long when you have the title,” White said. “You can’t do it. So if that’s true and he’s going to do that, then we’d have to figure out something else and you start looking at whether it’s Conor McGregor-Tony Ferguson or one of these other guys.”

That’s good news for Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier, the two fighters who have been waiting for months for the NAC to settle affairs with Khabib so they can get their shot at the UFC belt. But whether they would be competing for the undisputed title or an interim belt is unclear and, in typical White fashion, the UFC President did not want to commit to anything just yet.

“When opportunity knocks, answer the door. We’ll see how this thing plays out.”


UFC 234. Israel Adesanya wins entertaining scrap with Anderson Silva at UFC 234.

Bellator. Patricky Freire edges Ryan Scope at Bellator Newcastle.

Contender. Israel Adesanya believes he’s No. 1 contender despite Robert Whittaker pulling out of UFC 234.

Grim. Dana White: If Robert Whittaker’s hernia acted up during UFC 234 fight, ‘it could have been fatal’.

Hardo. Coach: Robert Whittaker wanted to postpone emergency surgery, fight Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234.

Prediction. Donald Cerrone says he’s fighting Conor McGregor this summer, predicts knockout.


UFC 234 post-fight show.

Dana hoping for 3 more for DC.

RDA still looking for that Conor money.

Champ Camp.



6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to UFC 234.

Severe MMA. Discussing Robert Whittaker’s injury, UFC 234, and Bellator.





Confidence in the new star.

Sounds like a fight.

Ray Borg is just the best dude.

Paul Felder looks to be in the best shape of his life.

Will Brooks hanging with TO.

Good plan. That division is easy pickings.


Michel Prazeres (26-2) vs. Ismail Naurdiev (17-2); UFC Prague, Feb. 23.

Satoru Kitaoka (42-18-9) vs. Roberto Satoshi (8-0); Rizin 15, April 15.

Damien Brown (18-12) vs. Koji Takeda (8-0); Rizin 15, April 15.

Manel Kape (12-4) vs. Seiichiro Ito (12-2-2); Rizin 15, April 15.


2017: Germaine de Randamie became the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champion, taking a unanimous decision over Holly Holm at UFC 208.


That might have been the best performance of Anderson’s career. Given how obviously physically declined he was, he still more than hung in there with one of the best strikers in the sport. What I wouldn’t give to have seen them go at it in Andy’s prime.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it! Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, and like us on Facebook!

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I said it last week and I'll say it again, strip Khabib of the title if he is adamant about sitting out for the entire year.

Give the title to Tony Ferguson. No need to fight Dustin for the belt, but have it as his first defense. He was the rightful interim champion and would deserve it.

To me, this will piss Khabib off so much that he will come back focused on righting what he views as a big wrong, especially if Tony wins in his first defense. This story writes itself.

Khabib is sitting out to punish the NAC for punishing his teammates. He is holding the division hostage.

Yeah, but just giving the title to Tony is never going to happen. It should definitely be Tony vs Dustin for the belt though. I don't like the idea of McGregor getting the shot with Tony, despite the fight being mad fun.

Dana: "When opportunity knocks, answer the door. We’ll see how this thing plays out." Read that as "let’s see which guys will accept my lowball offer."

I guess my only disagreement with your post is your point of making Tony fight for the interim for a second time.

To me, he won it already and if there is ever going to be a point of having an interim belt, then Tony should be able to be elevated to champ just like Whittaker did. Him having to fight Dustin to get it back kind of defeats the purpose of the belt.

You’re absolutely right that Conor shouldn’t be Tony’s first defense, even though their history is long. It should only be against Dustin.

But your scenario is the more likely to occur. Tony will have to fight Dustin for the interim, and then whoever wins will fight Khabib in November. This ignores the history between Khabib and Tony and might cause them to never be able to finally fight.

Tony was the interim champ but no longer is

I have no problem if he and Dustin fight for the belt given they strip Khabib. This interim junk needs to be left in the trash.

Doesn't really matter if they give him the belt or they fight for it....

winner still gets to keep it.

I'm cool with Tony vs Mcg for the real belt

I expect Tony to win anyway. So long as we can also see the winner defend against Dustin before Khabib gets back, I’m all good with Tony getting his red panty night.

I agree he must be stripped if he wants to wait

This isn’t light heavyweight where we are struggling to find legitimate contenders. It’s arguably the strongest division the UFC has ever seen and we have had 1 lightweight title fight in the last 2 years and 3 months. That is absolutely insane. By the time Khabib comes back it will be once in 3 years in the best division in the UFC. Cannot happen

Pretty sure I watched two lightweight title fights in 2018

Sorry let me rephrase. Defences

There wasn’t even a champ when Al fought Khabib

I suggested something similar a week ago knowing that with Ramadan Khabib would be out close to a year anyway… My suggestion is make Ferguson fight Poirier for the undisputed belt. Meanwhile Cowboy versus Mcgregor.. when Khabib comes back make him fight GSP with the winner fighting for the belt.. If done properly the winner of Connor vs Cowboy should have time to have a crack at the belt before Khabib/GSP.. this scenario would resolve the whole lightweight mess plus set up all kind of new match ups.. Kabib/Poirier, GSp/Mcg, Ferg/McG etc…

And of course a future rematch between Khabib and McG

Who would want to see that lopsided match again?

i almost agree with you man, strip Khabib....

…the only thing id change is let Tony fight Justin not Dustin for the LW belt, just because it would be such a tremendo match up!!

McGregor was able to sit out over a year...

To box and have baby… And didn’t give any indication of returning.
Khabib has a timetable for his return… why strip him when we know he’ll return. The division isn’t being held up at all.
Poirier vs Ferguson, pay them 6 figures, winner fights for the title against Khabib in November. Done and done.

Conor sat out for over a year and should have been stripped too.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Time to right this bullshit "sitting on the belt" ship.

Conor got stripped twice


My point was that he should have been stripped of the LW title a lot sooner.

Aas soon as i read the headline

I knew the comments would be flooded with "But connor got longer" and petty bull shit like that. If ufc said "well we let connor sit out that long its only fair" People would bitch about tony, dustin and others forced to wait and him holding up a division full of contenders. And of course UFC saying this you got people bitching "What about when conor did it" they are damned if they do damned if they don’t. The same people bitching about how long conor went on and he should have been stripped a lot sooner

he should have been stripped a lot sooner. the ufc was damned a little for not doing it, but not enough.

Thats my point

UFC is looking to rectify this situation of what they did before to not have a repeat performance and people are bitching showing regardless of that they do people will bitch

Yeah, lots of fans have convinced themselves McGregor was champ for 2 years without defending or being stripped. Not near the reality.

He’d also have been stripped even earlier had Tony vs Khabib not fallen out repeatedly.

You have a great point , but of in UFC the Conor rules apply only to Conor

The UFC still made money off of him during that year.

Huge difference.


khabib already said he will face the winner of Dustin and Tony, and he even said they might make that an interim title fight

Tony already did the interim title game

Champs should fight. What’s the point of having all of the contenders continue to fight and knock each other off while the champ sits?

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