On Tuesday, the Nevada State Athletic Commissions handed out its punishments for Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov following their post-fight brawl at UFC 229. As well, the NSAC handed down its decision on Jon Jones, who failed a drug test for picograms, forcing UFC 232 to move from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on short notice back in December.
First, let’s start with the UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov. He was given a nine-month suspension retroactive to UFC 229 back in October, meaning the Russian wrestling ace will be able to return to the Octagon as soon as July. In addition to the suspension, Nurmagomedov was also fined $500,000, which will be taken from the $1 million the NSAC held from his purse following UFC 229.
As for McGregor, the former ‘champ-champ’ has been suspended for six months, again retroactive to UFC 229, meaning he will be able to return to the Octagon as soon as July. McGregor also received a fine of $50,000, which is obviously pocket change for him, and perhaps a bit unfair since he wasn’t the one who jumped over the fence that night.
Both Nurmagomedov and McGregor’s camps agreed to the punishments before Tuesday’s hearing, so they were not present at the hearing. The commissioners voted 4-to-1 in favor of the agreed-upon punishments. In addition, Nurmagomedov could see his suspension reduced by three more months if he delivers an anti-bullying public service announcement.
Also of note, Nurmagomedov’s cornermen Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov were each handed down one-year suspensions for their roles in the brawl, meaning each will be able to return in October as well.
As for Jones, the commissioners agreed to give the UFC light heavyweight champion a one-fight license for UFC 235, meaning his fight against Anthony Smith is now official. As part of Jones’ deal with the NSAC, he will have to undergo more stringent drug tests and pay for them himself. Jones said in a statement that was “looking forward” to headlining UFC 235 as well as taking the drug tests to prove beyond a doubt that he’s a clean fighter.
For Jones, he received a good deal here and will be able to return to the cage in just five weeks for his next fight. For McGregor, being cleared to fight in April means a fight against Donald Cerrone to be booked as soon as possible, possibly headlining the UFC’s pay-per-view event in April. For Nurmagomedov, he probably got the worst deal of the bunch, as with his religious observances late this summer, the earliest we will likely see him fight against is next October, basically making his suspension a whole year long.
Either way, it’s finally nice that the MMA world will be able to put the nasty incident at UFC 229 behind them, as well as hopefully the failed drug tests of Jones. Nurmagomedov, McGregor and Jones are three of the most important and best fighters in the sport and the UFC needs them to fight. So does the NSAC, and Tuesday’s decisions mean fans will be seeing their favorite fighters competing sooner rather than later.