Legal Ramifications of Brawl Following the Nurmagomedov-Mcgregor UFC Match


Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

By Christina Pici, Staff Writer


A long awaited Ultimate Fighting Championship [UFC] match commenced on Saturday, October 7th between Khabib Nurmagomedov, the defending UFC Lightweight Champion with the longest undefeated streak in mixed martial arts [MMA] history, and Conor McGregor, who was the first MMA fighter in UFC history to hold two titles in two weight divisions simultaneously (featherweight and lightweight).[1] The two got in the ring on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to fight for the Lightweight Championship. Despite an impressive match, the match itself has not been the main topic of news headlines. The big news about the event that has caught the attention of people everywhere is the brawl that ensued directly following the match and what that brawl could potentially mean for all of the people involved.

Shortly after Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor by fourth-round submission at UFC 229, Nurmagomedov climbed the cage and jumped into the audience in an effort to go after one of McGregor’s training partners, Dillon Danis.[2]  Inside the octagon, McGregor threw a punch at one of the members of Nurmagomedov’s team which was quickly followed by an attack from two members of Nurmagomedov’s team who had entered the cage.[3] One of the members actually landed a punch on McGregor from behind.[4] The fights were broken up by police and security guards and both of the fighters were escorted out of the arena without the belt being placed on Nurmagomedov, which is standard operating procedure when a fighter wins the title.[5]

During a post-fight interview, the UFC president, Dana White, stated that the fighters may not realize the magnitude of the consequences of their actions regarding the post-fight brawl.[6] He mentioned that one of the consequences Nurmagomedov could potentially face is the revocation of his visa.[7]

Khabib Nurmagomedov is a citizen of Russia and Conor McGregor is a citizen of Ireland, therefore, both fighters have visas to be in the country.[8] Typically, “world-class athletes such as Nurmagomedov and McGregor qualify for O-1 or P-1 nonimmigrant visas.”[9] “The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.”[10]  The P-1 visa applies to those that come to the United States “temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.”[11] These special visas “are assigned to athletes and other entertainers who seek to enter the U.S. for a particular purpose and limited duration (such as participating in an MMA fight) and who have internationally recognized abilities.”[12] Moreover, visa revocation will only be an issue if, following an investigation, they are charged with a crime.[13]

Under Sec. 212(2)(A) [8 U.S.C. 1182], “[a]ny alien convicted of, or who admits having committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of a crime involving moral turpitude or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime… is inadmissible.”[14]

The Nevada State Athletic Commission [NSAC] has already begun an investigation into the post-fight incident and has elected to hold Nurmagomedov’s $2 million paycheck in expectation of filing a complaint against the fighter.[15] The NSAC did not hold McGregor’s $3 million paycheck, however, the chairman of the commission, Anthony Marnell, told ESPN that they plan to file a complaint against him too.[16] The NSAC has said that Nurmagomedov is also facing a fine and suspension for his conduct.[17]

As of now there are no criminal charges that could lead to the revocation of Nurmagomedov’s visa. However, there is a long list of potential charges that could be brought including assault and battery, disorderly conduct, and rout and riot just to name a few.[18] Any complaints will be sent to the attorney general’s office and a hearing will be called to review the complaints.[19]







[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.




[9] Id.











Comments are closed.