In Brief

UFC: Putin praises Nurmagomedov after title win over McGregor

Russian president urges the UFC champion’s father not to punish him ‘too strictly’ for the post-bout punch-up

Putin is pleased as punch

Vladimir Putin has congratulated Khabib Nurmagomedov on his UFC world lightweight title victory over Conor McGregor last Saturday.

The Irish Mirror says that the Russian president also appeared to hit back at Dublin fighter McGregor, who in the build-up to the bout criticised Nurmagomedov’s father, family and country.

The Guardian reports that the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) has filed a complaint against Nurmagomedov following the chaotic scenes that followed his victory in Las Vegas.

It’s alleged that several members of Nurmagomedov’s entourage attacked McGregor, although the Irishman has not pressed charges over the fracas.

Hell to pay

Putin met Nurmagomedov and praised the 30-year-old Russian for his triumph. He also defended the new champion’s actions in the aftermath of the fight, saying: “Anyone could have jumped [out of the octagon] in the same way. If we are attacked from the outside, not only you, we could all jump in such a way… there could be hell to pay.”

Ever the diplomat, Putin added that it’s “better not to reach that stage”, but the Guardian believes the Russian president’s words were a reference to McGregor’s previous comments.

Nurmagomedov apologised for what happened in Las Vegas, saying that his father and trainer Abdulmanap would “smash me when I get home”.

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov’s initial response to the post-bout punch-up was to warn his son that he “will impose a punishment tougher than the UFC… for me, discipline comes first”. 

Go easy on the lad

Putin, however, had a message for Nurmagomedov senior: “I will ask your father not to punish you too strictly, because you achieved the main task, worthily and convincingly.”

As for what official punishment could be imposed on McGregor and Nurmagomedov for the ugly scenes that erupted on Saturday, the Guardian says that the NAC could fine and/or suspend the pair, but that UFC president Dana White “has not ruled out a rematch, which would be sure to pull in huge revenues”.

He told ESPN on Monday that McGregor has already been in touch “wanting a rematch”.

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