Zubaira Tukhugov: Why is Khabib Nurmagomedov Potentially Quitting UFC for his teammate?
Who is Zubaira Tukhugov?
Zubaira Tukhugov is a Russian fighter of Chechen descent and the teammate and close friend of the Undisputed UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
A professional MMA competitor since 2010, Zubaira made a name for himself, fighting in promotions like Cage Warriors, ProFC, Fight Nights (EFN) and others, before joining the UFC in 2014.
In 2016 he had received a USADA suspension for illegally using performance-enhancing drugs (PED). After his involvement in UFC 229 Brawl against "Team McGregor", UFC President Dana White announced he would no longer be fighting for the UFC despite the fact that his suspension has ended.
He was scheduled to face McGregor's teammate Artem Lobov on October 27, 2018, at UFC Fight Night 138.
What did Zubaira Tukhugov do at UFC 229?
The Dagestani legend, Khabib Nurmagomedov showcased a brilliant performance against the Irish superstar Conor McGregor in UFC 229 at Las Vegas, Nevada. Unfortunately, the controversial events that followed Khabib's triumph eclipsed this remarkable performance. Nurmagomedov jumped the cage after submitting McGregor and attacked his teammate Dillon Danis.
This started a massive brawl in the arena, following which McGregor, who was recovering from the Khabib's mauling got sucker punched by members of Khabib's gang which included PFL fighter Abubakar Nurmagomedov (Khabib's cousin) and Zubaira Tukhugov (UFC Featherweight who was scheduled to fight Artem later this month).
Zubaira squared up with Conor after seeing him swing at and connect with a left hand on Khabib's cousin and ended up catching a left hand himself.
According to Dana White's post-fight press conference, It was said that he will surely be cut by the UFC. All three individuals from Khabib's team who were arrested for causing the brawl were released after the Irishman refused to press charges on them.
What does Khabib have to say?
Khabib Nurmagomedov has threatened to quit UFC over their punishment of Zubaira Tukhugov for punching Conor McGregor. Nurmagomedov has issued a strong warning to his UFC Boss, Dana White.
The Undisputed Champion has to threaten to quit the promotion if UFC punishes his teammate for his actions at UFC 229. This is what the Dagestani Legend has stated,
"I would like to address UFC. Why didn't you fire anyone when their team attacked the bus and injured a couple of people? They could have killed someone there, why no one says anything about insulting my homeland, religion, nation, family? Why do you have to punish my team, when both teams fought. If you say that I started it, then I do not agree, I finished what he had started.
Khabib clearly has no intention to continue in UFC.
In any case, punish me, Zubaira Tukhugov has nothing to do with that. If you think that I’ll keep silent then you are mistaken. 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.
He also accused the organization of withholding his payment ($ 2 Million) for the fight.
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.
How will Khabib's "Tough Talk" affect MMA?
While Khabib's loyalty to his teammate is clearly vindicated in his statements, It doesn't meet any grounds for giving Zubaira a clean chit. his actions at the UFC 229 was disgraceful and deserves to be retributed, albeit he may have his incentives for committing such an action.
UFC, as a promotion, will incur a devastating loss after Khabib quits the company. But, as an organization, it will be setting a very bad precedent if such activities are given a clean chit.
Anyways, the way "The Warrior King" Dana White ameliorates this situation will be critical for the company's future. And, White needs to solve this situation without antagonizing both the camps and not setting an unjust precedent.