UFC president Dana White has played down reports a rift between the promotion and their lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov after the Russian’s rather public ultimatum last week.
Khabib certainly stirred up something of a storm within the MMA community when he made it very clear that he would walk away from his contract if his sparring partner Zubaira Tukhugov or any of his other teammates were cut from the UFC.
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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. In any case, punish me, @zubairatukhugov 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. 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. #Brothers
Despite it appearing as though relations are strained between both parties at the moment, Dana White spoke to TMZ Sports in a recent interview, claiming that things have cooled off significantly in the time since.
“We’re good. We’re good with Khabib. You guys are still posting that shit, that was a week ago. A lot happens in a week in this business.
“It was a very emotional fight for him. At the end of the day, Khabib is a great guy. We’ve always had a great relationship with him.
“He’s staying in the UFC.”
As for the future of Khabib’s teammate Tukhugov, the man who struck out at Conor McGregor in the post-fight melee, Dana showed a little less in the way of certainty.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, we’ll see how it plays out.
Conor made it pretty clear in the fight’s immediate aftermath that he is looking for a rematch with the Russian but according to White, he has yet to sit down and actually talk to either man about their future.
“I don’t know. We haven’t talked about that yet. He’s doing this whole tour right now. He’s going to U.A.E, meetings over with [Vladimir] Putin. He’s doing all of this stuff.
“Let this guy enjoy his win and then we’ll figure that out.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena