Following his dominant victory over Conor McGregor late on Saturday night, Khabib endured a hero’s welcome upon his return to Russia, with more than 10,000 fans turning out for his arrival in Dagestan.
But the fallout from what was supposed to be the UFC’s biggest event in their history has not been one of celebration due to the scenes that unfolded immediately after McGregor submitted to a rear-naked choke hold in the fourth round. Khabib had to be restrained from continuing his attack on the Irishman, before turning his fury onto his teammates as he vaulted over the Octagon fence and jumped into the crowd to confront McGregor’s trainer Dillon Danis.
While the brawl ensued outside the Octagon, inside it McGregor was confronted by three of Khabib’s teammates, with a melee ensuing as punches were thrown from all angles – including one man blindsiding McGregor from behind.
The UFC have condemned the actions witnessed inside the T-Mobile Arena, with Khabib having his purse withheld and facing a Nevada State Athletic Commission investigation that could see him stripped of the title that he successfully defended at the weekend.
He also faces a stiff punishment at home, with his father, former Russian wrestler Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, warning that his actions will be “much stronger” than anything the UFC or NSAC can do.
But after being invited to meet with Putin following his success, the Russian president attempted to talk Abdulmanap into easing up on his son by asking him “”not to punish him too severely”.
Speaking before meeting with Putin, Abdulmanap said: “You can do whatever you want in the octagon; outside of it, there’s children, women, random people.
“My team has always been known for its discipline, hence my sanctions to Khabib will be much stronger than the ones from UFC.”
Khabib appeared at a post-fight press conference in the early hours of Sunday morning to explain his actions and apologise to both his fans and the NSAC, with the Russian claiming that he reacted to McGregor’s pre-fight insults about his religion, country and father.
“This is a respect sport, not a trash talking sport,” Khabib said. “I don’t want to talk s*** about opponents, my father, religion or country, this is very important. My father is going to smash me when I go home.”
He also boasted about Putin contacting him after his triumph to congratulate him, which appeared to be a jibe towards McGregor after the Dubliner posted a picture of himself with the Russian president at the 2018 World Cup final.
“He took a picture with Putin,” Nurmagomedov commented as he walked out of the conference. “But Putin just called me and told me he is proud of me. And he said congratulations.”