Would Khabib Nurmagomedov ever be stripped of the UFC Lightweight Championship
- Could the UFC strip the lightweight belt from Khabib?
- The UFC may get forced into making a tough decision.
Could, or would Dana White and the powers that be at the UFC ever take the 155 strap off of Khabib? It's a complex question with an answer that's even more complex. "The Eagle" is a decent company man. Not to the level of his AKA teammate Daniel Cormier; but he does his part without much whining.
It goes to his serious and very structured life in Dagestan. That's something that has been discussed ad nauseam. As has the fact it's something understood by most parts of the world but not too much in North America.
The very second Nurmagomedov threw his mouthpiece at Dillon Danis and ran towards the cage that fateful night in Vegas; all bets were off. He admitted he'd have a tongue lashing waiting for him at home from his father. So deep down he had to know that Vegas and the athletic commission could not just let it go. It would be a bad precedent for the future. Was he leaping over the cage typical of him? Absolutely not. But sometimes a first offense needs to be treated so severe the guilty know not to attempt the same thing again. But all this is prologue.
But while moving forward his past will guide his future. And that's not necessarily a good thing. Because the NAC took upwards of a million dollars in fines from him, took his license for nine months, plus punished his teammates he's decided to never fight in Vegas again. That is his absolute prerogative.
However, as a champion, he needs to fight where ever the company tells him to fight. No matter what his feelings are. With Brooklyn just about done for UFC 249 as Brooklyn is almost on lockdown till April 20th; the fight on the 18th against Tony Ferguson must move. However, where? Most states are going dark and even if done with just fighters and staff anywhere there's a major risk to spread the coronavirus.
The odds say most people have, will have, or are carriers of it. All a fighter or staff member needs to do is catch it, and spread it at home. It would just keep the pandemic going. Politics and beliefs aside; the best way to handle things is to shut it all down, then reboot when and if the time is right.
Khabib also is out of action for Ramadan; which this year is April 23 to May 23. So that would mean the undefeated champion if the 18th is scratched most likely couldn't fight till sometime in June. If you're calendar watching that's just a month before international fight week..... in Vegas. Would they tell Khabib they want that fight there? Well, Sin City all but owns the rights to the biggest fights, and none is bigger in the UFC. Although with the backlog now of cards they could have their pick at a couple of main events. Or they could take a soft approach and hold him to their November return to MSG. With Russian and Mexican populations in NY, it would blow the roof clean off of the Garden.
However, if the game plan was, in fact, International Fight Week and he refused to go, would they have the courage to take the belt off of him? Dana does not do well when pushed into a corner. And a refusal to fight in Sin City is just that. Perhaps do a Tony - Justin Gaethje main event for the belt. This would then bring in all-new side stories being Justin and Khabib are both repped by Ali Abdelaziz and Dominance MMA management. Where would Ali's allegiance lie with?
It's interesting to think about just how messy things can get. Especially since right now that's all sports fans can do. Is think.Published 17 Mar 2020, 08:09 IST