No, this wasn’t an overly aggressive sparring session. This was for real, at least according to the Wrestling Observer‘s Dave Meltzer.
“If that’s not bad enough, there was a real fight in the gym with Bagautinov and Rustam Khabilov,” reported Meltzer in his online newsletter. “While everyone is publicly playing it down, everyone also admits it happened. The way we heard it was Khabilov, who is a lightweight, gave Bagautinov (a flyweight) a beating, although not bad enough to cause him to pull out of the fight.”
Meltzer’s report followed an earlier report from AXS TV’s Inside MMA, which tweeted, “Training turned into scuffling at Jackson’s MMA this week between Rustam Khabilov and Ali Bagautinov…”
Khabilov is set to headline Saturday’s UFC Fight Night in Albuquerque, taking on former UFC 155-pound champion Benson Henderson in a five-round main event. Bagautinov, meanwhile, is slated to challenge UFC flyweight champion Demetrius Johnson in the June 14 headlining bout at UFC 174 in Vancouver.
There has been no reliable information on what sparked the fight between the two Dagestani imports or the exact timeframe of the altercation, although all indications are that neither suffered any serious injuries that would jeopardize either man’s upcoming bout.