UFC lichtgewicht kampioen Khabib Nurmagomedov bracht donderdagochtend een lange verklaring uit en verdedigde Zubaira Tukhugov voor zijn betrokkenheid bij het UFC 229 incident en dreigde de organisatie te verlaten als zijn teamgenoot werd ontslagen.
Een aantal vechters toog naar social media om hun mening te geven over de verklaring. De dubbele kampioen Daniel Cormier was geen fan van het incident, maar ondersteunde toch de loyaliteit van Khabib en zijn teamgenoten.
Voormalig Licht Zwaargewicht kampioen Chuck Liddell vond overeenkomsten tussen hemzelf en Khabib, zijn uitgebreide verklaring op Instagram luidde; “There we have it. Speaking out like a true Champ and fighter. This isn’t about the money for Khabib Nurmagomedov its about principle. It’s sounds crazy but sometimes in life somethings are not negotiable. I know that stands true for me. What those things are for me in my life may or may not be the same as Khabib. Perspective is incredibly important.”
“I am not excusing his actions (as a known fighter and role model for many people I was embarrassed by what happened). I don’t want to see our sport turn into what people in the beginning thought was barbaric, however, i do agree that we fighters must hold ourselves to a higher standard and treat people with basic respect. I started out on the street and even in the street we all know there are things you just don’t touch. When you involve threats against a family, religion or nation you are playing with fire.”
“Those things are sacred. I would never do it. That is principle for me. And regarding what happened between both guys the world has watched it and it all started before they got to the ring. It is extremely unfair for Khabib or any of his team to be treated or disciplined any differently than Conor would be. Conor should be fined and suspended if Khabib is. And the same goes with holding his purse. Why is Zubaira’s fight being canceled? He defended his brother like any real fighter would do!? Conor threw at least 2 punches before anyone went after him. How wrong have things gone? Is money making us blind? These guys are fighters and this is what they do.”
“The institution has blurred the lines. They sell out for ratings and big pay days. Certain fighters have a carte Blanche to do what they want and get away with minimal penalties. Us fighters know once you “cross the line” all bets are off. Well here we are, Khabib is staying true to the fight game. It’s not about money it’s about respect and integrity. With fighters that the UFC invests its money in.; for example Brock Lesnar. The last time he entered the octagon. If he’d done that to one of my fighters it would’ve been on! Let me reiterate, The UFC needs to take back the control use this spectacle as a momentous opportunity to.”
Artem Lobov, die geacht werd tegen Tukhugov te vechten, was geen fan van Dana White’s belofte om zijn geplande tegenstander om persoonlijke redenen te ontslaan.