Conor McGregor has been suspended for one month on medical grounds following his UFC 229 defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas at the weekend.
McGregor’s first mixed martial arts contest in almost two years ended when he submitted to UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov’s rear-naked choke midway through the fourth round.
As a result, the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned the event, has banned McGregor from fighting until November 6 and said he was to have no contact training until October 28.
A line on the results page of the NSAC’s website read: “Suspend McGregor until 11/06/18. No contact until 10/28/18.”
In total 13 fighters from Saturday night face some sort of medical suspension, which is a common occurrence in UFC.
Of far more importance to Nurmagomedov and McGregor will be the punishments handed down following a post-fight melee instigated by the Russian at the T-Mobile Arena.
Immediately after McGregor tapped out, Nurmagomedov taunted his rival, threw his gum shield and jumped over the cage before flinging himself to attack a member of the Irishman’s team.
While this was occurring, McGregor was set upon by at least two alleged members of Nurmagomedov’s entourage.
A heavy security presence stopped the situation from escalating rapidly but the NSAC took a dim view of the situation, withholding Nurmagomedov’s fight purse while it investigates.
Nurmagomedov later expressed contrition at what had unfolded but showed his disdain for McGregor’s behaviour leading up to the fight, saying: “He talked about my religion, he talked about my country, he talked about my father.”
Conor McGregor has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct over his New York melee in April in order to avoid a prison sentence.
The Irish mixed-martial arts (MMA) sensation appeared at a Brooklyn criminal court on Thursday after being charged with multiple counts of assault and criminal mischief following his attack on a bus full of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) competitors at the Barclays Centre on April 5.
In a brief court appearance on Thursday, the 30-year-old pleaded guilty to the smaller charge of disorderly conduct following which he was handed a punishment of five days worth community service.
As part of the guilty plea, McGregor will also be required to undergo anger management treatment. The Irishman had been facing 12 criminal charges in total prior to his guilty plea and he will now avoid any jail time.
After a stint in the UFC, British mixed martial arts fighter Luke Barnatt is heading to Dubai for Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) 81. The former doorman only got involved in the fight game after a colleague challenged him to a scrap after their shifts working the doors. The young Barnatt, fancying his chances against his co-worker, accepted the challenge and found himself on the wrong end of a beating in the gym.
After a one-sided beating, he dedicated himself to the art of self-defence and made an impact on the domestic scene before an opportunity with the UFC came knocking. In 2003, Barnatt, who was living in the gym he was fighting out of in Cambridge, UK, saw an advert for Ultimate Fighter, the UFC’s reality TV series. The former middleweight borrowed money from a friend to fly to Las Vegas for a try-out. After impressing the judges Barnatt was offered a place on the show, where he would make it through to the quarterfinals.
A contract with the UFC followed where he fought five times, winning twice. He’s since gone to fight on the independent MMA scene and has a record of 18 fights, 13 wins and five losses. His next bout is on the Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) 81 card, taking place at the Dome, Sports City, Dubai, on Friday 23rd February. Here, the twenty-nine-year-old speaks exclusively to Sport 360 about his upcoming bout with Maxim Futin, making money in MMA, Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
What do you know about your ACB 81 opponent Maxim Futin?
Maxim I know pretty well, I’ve worked with ACB before and actually commentated on one of his fights before. He faced an opponent of mine, Max Nunes, previously and Max beat him, and I beat Max. I don’t know much about him personally, we’ve never actually met or had a conversation but I know his fighting style and his stance so I know what he’s about. I’ve gone from middleweight to light-heavyweight, which I’ve been fighting at for around eight years, but I’ve already had two fights at light-heavyweight and I’m never going to fight at middleweight again.
The MMA fraternity is fairly small; do you mix with opponents before fights?
Not with this fight because Maxim’s Russian so I haven’t bumped into him previously but with Nunes, we’re actually friends now and we’ve trained together in the same gyms. Maxim I’ve seen about at ACB shows but we’re not friends.
How long have you been in training for ACB 81?
I’ve been in training since Christmas for this fight so it’ll be about an eight-week training camp. Generally I’ll do between six to twelve week training camps, so it’s normally about two months. When I finish this fight I’ll be back in the gym two weeks after with no further fight in mind.
You’re 29 now, does MMA provide you with a good wage or do you have other income sources?
It’s my sole profession but MMA isn’t really something you can live off when you’re just starting out. I went to the UFC for three years and once you’re there you can pretty much live off the sport. Following that I got to the point where I could rely on MMA for an income but I also have side projects as well, like a gym I run in Malaga, Spain.
Is the aim to get back to the UFC?
I’ve been there and done the UFC, I actually could have gone back there before I signed my contract with ACB, but I had a fight with the ACB and actually lost so that set me back a little bit. Where I’m at now, I’m very happy with the promotion and where I am, they treat me well so I’m happy to help push ACB rather than go back to the UFC. With the change of weight-class I can see myself fighting for the light-heavyweight title in about a year.
There are easier ways to make a living than fighting, why did you get into it?
I used to be a doorman when I was younger and a guy I used to work with used to fight. He got me started because I used to think I could beat him up and he challenged me to a scrap in the gym one night, and he beat me senseless so that’s when I decided I had to learn how to fight properly. I also wanted to learn how to defend myself in the real world because I had a bit of a misconception of where I was at physically. I began training four times a week and fell in love with doing it and making myself better. It was never meant to be a profession but as I got more into it I decided to have a go at it properly.
What was the selection process for The Ultimate Fighter?
At the time I was undefeated in the UK and the UFC put out a try-out form and this was when I was living in the gym I was training at because I’d given up my job in marketing. I didn’t have any money at the time so I actually borrowed money for the try-outs, which were in Las Vegas. They put you on the pads and interview you and stuff and luckily for me I got in. I was 24 at the time and I’d only been doing MMA for three years and the season, Ultimate Fighter 17 was one of the best seasons, and at that point I got a contract for the UFC.
Floyd Mayweather has been teasing fans lately with a UFC debut. How do you think he’d get on?
Floyd is amazing at what he does but we’ve already had it with James Toney, a heavyweight-boxing champion, who tried his hand in the Octagon. He fought Randy Couture and it didn’t go well for him [Toney tapped out after 3 minutes of punishment]. As amazing as boxing is, which Floyd is a master of, MMA is a totally different game. I’m sure he knows that, especially at his age. People in the UFC aren’t going to stand in front of him and let him punch them. If he got into a cage with Connor McGregor he’d lose. In fact if he fought a sub-par, average fighter in the UFC he’d lose. The sport of MMA has so many skills involved, you have to be able to adapt and do so many things. Grappling alone takes years and years of hard work and mat time to get to any sort of level. A good amateur MMA fighter would beat Floyd Mayweather.
What about McGregor’s chances as a boxer?
McGregor did pretty well against Mayweather but to make a career of it is a different thing. I think he wanted to be a boxer initially actually but he wasn’t good enough and he’s much better suited to MMA. He’d struggle against other good boxers. Maybe he’ll have a few huge fights because he’s already such a big name but if he had to do it the hard way and come up the ranks and go to the Olympics and win a gold medal for boxing I think he’d struggle. He found his home in MMA so that’s what he should stick at. You can’t just switch between the two, they’re completely different sports. To an observer they might look similar but they not. If McGregor was to go into boxing now he’d be undoing all his hard work he’s done in the UFC.
Have you been to Dubai before?
I’ve been over to Dubai once and Abu Dhabi once before for a UFC event a few years ago. It’s a nice touch to be fighting there but I live in Spain so we have the same sort of weather anyway, so I’m used to the environment. It’s once of the best things about fighting actually, you get to see the world. I did a bit of training in Sweden actually, which was great too.
ACB 81 comes to The Dome, Sports City, Dubai Friday 23rd February. Tickets are available from dubai.platinumlist.net.