Khabib Nurmagomedov (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Nevada Commission Releases Half of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Fight Purse, But Fine and Suspension Pending

The Nevada State Athletic Commission convened Wednesday morning in Las Vegas for a hearing to determine the next actions regarding temporary suspensions for Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. The continued withholding of Nurmagomedov’s $2 million purse was also voted on by the members of the board. Combat Press was live on the scene to report the details of the meeting.

After a brief show of force, NSAC Chairman Anthony Marnell III eventually proposed that half of Nurmagomedov’s money be released. The motion was unanimously voted into effect by all members of the Commission. The NSAC will continue to hold $1 million until a resolution has been reached in the disciplinary hearings related to the UFC 229 post-fight brawl.

The official hearing for the misconduct complaints against Nurmagomedov and McGregor is scheduled for Dec. 10, and Marnell was very adamant that both parties must attend in person.


“I would like to make it clear for the record, they both need to be on notice that (for) the December hearing,” said Chairman Marnell. “I will require them to personally appear. I will not waive personal appearance.”

While an NSAC hearing would not be complete without a little chest-thumping, it did not stop there. Chairman Marnell wanted to make a few other things clear, such as the extent of his punitive authority and what he would have done differently about McGregor, who, despite being paid, is also subject to the wrath of the NSAC in December. First, he requested clarification from Deputy Attorney General Caroline Bateman on the definition of the fight purse.

“In reading the reg (sic)… the interpretation of purse is not just the fight-night check, but also includes all pay-per-view and other. Is that correct?” asked Marnell.

“That is correct,” replied Bateman. “I would note that in terms of our previous history with disciplinary claims… we have utilized the fight-night payment as the purse calculation. That would be my recommendation. But it wouldn’t be outside your scope if you did want to interpret that provision to include pay-per-view as well.”

Of course, Chairman Marnell took the opportunity to grandstand once again before moving on with the hearing.

“I just want to make clear for the record what the scope of the Commission’s abilities are to deal with what we’re dealing with,” he said. He then prodded further to make sure that discussion of a lifetime ban entered into the conversation. “What regulation am I looking at that allows the Commission to impose the lifetime ban?”

When he was informed that Nevada Revised Statute 467.145 gives the NSAC authority, he glibly replied, “I just want to make that clear for the record that it’s all in play.”

Despite his hard-nosed disposition throughout, Chairman Marnell did seem to ease up off of his ruthless zeal for “the scope of his ability” when he made the suggestion of withholding only half of Nurmagomedov’s purse until resolution of the forthcoming disciplinary actions.

“The fighter is still going to receive close to four and a half million dollars, which is not going to be subject to his disciplinary action,” said Marnell.

Based on that statement alone, it sounds as though Chairman Marnell is considering the fight-night payment as the purse in jeopardy, per the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Bateman. Perhaps his incessant questioning of the Nevada Revised Statutes that he should already know was his way of trying to persuade everyone to believe that he is capable of bringing down the wrath of the MMA Gods upon Nurmagomedov and McGregor.

In a statement that was completely unrelated to today’s hearing, not to mention inappropriate, Chairman Marnell took the liberty of commenting on a hypothetical situation regarding the other half of the UFC 229 incident.

“I would put in there, for the record, if I would have had the video that we now have, I would’ve also held Mr. McGregor’s purse. I did not have the video at the time,” he said.

Chairman Marnell and the rest of the Commission will have their chance to make McGregor atone for his role in this whole mess, but that is contingent upon whether the ultra-popular and ultra-rich Irishman decides to play ball. As he has demonstrated in the past, such as in the bottle-throwing incident prior to his rematch with Nate Diaz, McGregor is not one to be shaken down by the NSAC. The truth is, both Nurmagomedov and McGregor have far more leverage than the Commission seems to realize.