Khabib Nurmagomedov says he’s ready to sign a bout agreement to face former interim champion Tony Ferguson in March, but only if the Nevada State Athletic Commission admits fault in their handling of his case post-UFC 229.
Speaking to fans during a Q&A session ahead of UFC Moscow, Nurmagomedov said he was ready to face Ferguson in a fight that has been years in the making.
“We’re in talks now,” Khabib told the crowd.
“They suggested having it in Vegas in March, but they have to issue me an official apology for fining me for the incident on 6 October, 2018.
“They” refers to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), who filed a formal complaint against Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor following their highly-publicized bust-up after their fight at UFC 229.
Following Khabib’s fourth-round submission victory over McGregor, the UFC champion jumped the octagon fence and attacked McGregor teammate Dillon Danis at cageside. It sparked a mass brawl between the two teams that resulted in the NSAC voting to withhold half of Nurmagomedov’s $2 million fight purse while they investigated the incident.
The Commission later reduced the punishment to a $500,000 fine as they banned the Russian world champion for nine months from the date of the incident.
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The fine remains a sticking point with Khabib, who says he will refuse to fight in Las Vegas until the Commission either returns his fine money, or issues an apology.
“If they apologize, I’ll fight,” he said.
“If not, we’ll pick another venue. I’ll fight in April in New York. I’ll be ready in April – March if Vegas apologizes or gives me back my money.
“Those are my conditions. We’re in talks now.”
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The UFC has tried to book a matchup between Khabib and Ferguson on four separate occasions, only for injury or illness to scupper the promotion’s plans. Now it seems the only stumbling block is over the location of the contest.
And, considering the chances of the NSAC meeting either of Khabib’s conditions seem unlikely, at best, it would appear that an April date with Ferguson in New York looks like the more realistic outcome.