UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has threatened to quit the UFC in response to the fallout over his post-fight antics against Conor McGregor.
The Russian fighter on Thursday issued a statement, threatening to break his contract and forfeit the $2 million paycheck that is being withheld.
Nurmagomedov and his team have been in a longstanding feud with McGregor and his team, which includes McGregor’s infamous attack on a bus that held Nurmagomedov at the UFC 223 Media Day.
That feud boiled over after Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor at UFC 229 on Saturday.
The Russian fighter leapt over the Octagon fence after the fight to attack McGregor cornerman Dillon Danis.
With that, a large melee ensued with McGregor trying to scale the fence as well and exchanging blows with members of Nurmagomedov’s team.
During the mayhem Zubaira Tukhugov climbed into the cage and struck McGregor from behind.
After order was restored, UFC president Dana White said that the fighters that went into the Octagon would never fight for the UFC again.
Following those comments, Nurmagomedov issued a statement on Thursday threatening to break his UFC contract, mentioning that the UFC canceled Tukhugov’s upcoming bout with Artem Lobov.
“You canceled Zubaira’s fight and you want to dismiss him just because he hit Conor. But don’t forget that it was Conor who had hit my another Brother FIRST, just check the video,” Nurmagomedov wrote.
“If you decide to fire him, you should know that you’ll lose me too. We never give up on our brothers in Russia and I will go to the end for my Brother. If you still decide to fire him, don’t forget to send me my broken contract, otherwise I’ll break it myself.
“And one more thing, you can keep my money that you are withholding. You are pretty busy with that, I hope it won’t get stuck in your throat. We have defended our honor and this is the most important thing. We intend to go to the end.”
It is actually the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), not the UFC, that withheld Nurmagomedov’s $2 million paycheck.
The commission is investigating the post-fight incident and determining what sanctions should be issued.
UFC officials on Thursday did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Nurmagomedov’s threat to break his contract.
Suspensions handed down for both fighters
Nurmagomedov and McGregor have both been suspended by the NSAC for the brawl that erupted inside and outside the octagon after their lightweight title fight.
Letters were sent Wednesday informing both mixed martial arts fighters they will be suspended for at least 10 days effective October 15, commission executive Bob Bennett said on Thursday.
A commission investigation is pending and the panel can extend the temporary suspension when they meet on October 24, Bennett said.
Nurmagomedov and McGregor can also appeal Bennett’s executive action at that time.
McGregor’s manager Audie Attar did not immediately comment and Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz did not immediately respond to emails.
However, Nurmagomedov, who was praised by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting on Wednesday in Moscow, responded with an angry Instagram post saying he was being unfairly punished.
The fighter complained that discipline didn’t follow an incident last April in Brooklyn, New York, when McGregor shattered windows of Nurmagomedov’s bus with a hand truck after Nurmagomedov confronted one of McGregor’s teammates days earlier.
“They could have killed someone there, why no one says anything about insulting my homeland, religion, nation, family?” Nurmagomedov posted. “We have defended our honour and this is the most important thing. We intend to go to the end.”
Fighting erupted outside the octagon late Saturday, after McGregor (21-4) tapped out during a chokehold by Nurmagomedov (27-0) in the fourth round of UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena.
The Russian champion from Dagestan then stepped away from McGregor, climbed over the cage and scuffled with a fighter in the Irishman’s corner.
Members of Nurmagomedov’s entourage climbed into the octagon and attacked McGregor, and McGregor also tried to climb out of the cage during the brawl.
“You can keep my money that you are withholding,” Nurmagomedov posted. “I hope it won’t get stuck in your throat.”
UFC President Dana White said three members of Nurmagomedov’s camp were detained by police but released because McGregor refused to press criminal charges.
White said the UFC might strip the lightweight title from Nurmagomedov.