UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is likely to be confirmed for a fight with interim titleholder Dustin Poirier for the UFC 242 headliner on Sept. 7 in Abu Dhabi following the reduction of his teammates’ suspensions by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Nurmagomedov will be clear of his UFC 229 suspension in July, but two of his teammates were issued 12-month suspensions, which would run into October. Nurmagomedov jumped the fence at UFC 229 to brawl with opponent Conor McGregor‘s teammates in the crowd, while his own teammates climbed into the Octagon to attack McGregor.
In a show of support, Nurmagomedov was adamant that he would not fight again until Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov were able to fight as well, regardless of him being clear of his own suspension.
The problem with that is the UFC wanted him to face Poirier in the UFC 242 main event in the promotion’s return to the United Arab Emirates. The UAE’s main religion is Islam and Nurmagomedov is the UFC’s first Muslim champion and is expected to be a massive draw in Abu Dhabi.
With the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi set for September and Nurmagomedov holding steadfast in his support of his teammates, the fight has been slow to become official even though both fighters and UFC president Dana White began talking about its likelihood more than a month ago.
Nurmagomedov on Wednesday, however, appeared to announce a resolution that would clear the way for the fight.
“The Nevada State Athletic Commission issued a verdict on the Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov case. The commission reduced the removal of fighters (from their suspensions) by 35 days, so Zubaira and Abubakar can fight on UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi!” Nurmagomedov wrote on Instagram, indicating that his teammates would not only be cleared and pave the way for him to fight, but might also be joining him on the UFC 242 fight card.
NSAC executive director Bob Bennett on Wednesday confirmed to ESPN that Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov had their suspensions reduced by 35 days, clearing them ahead of UFC 242, after the athletic commission approved a community service agreement for the two.
Bennett told ESPN that Tukhugov and Nurmagomedov must each complete 10 hours of community service approved by the athletic commission and that “it must be constructive work with youth and could include self-defense and anti-bullying messages.”
An official announcement confirming Nurmagomedov vs. Poirier for the UFC 242 headliner in Abu Dhabi is expected at any moment.