Tax Issues Create Interesting Rumors Swirling Around Khabib Nurmagomedov

May 15, 2024
2 weeks

Dana White relentlessly attempted to get Khabib Nurmagomdov to stay in the UFC. But until recently, it appeared any attempts to get him to fight again would be more difficult than wrestling a bear, something Khabib’s dad would have him do growing up. MMAfighting latest updates show that some people are optimistic he may have to come back.

But the news isn’t anything worth celebrating. If Nurmagomedov decided to come back because he felt like he had something left to prove, that would be awesome. But for Nurmagomedov to come back because he owes money to the Russian government seems wrong on many levels.

Still, most stories surrounding combat sports after their careers are over typically feature a few poor financial decisions. Nurmagomedov falling into a trap like that isn’t too surprising. 

What Happened With Money?

Nurmagomedov drew the scrutiny of the Russian government for the papers of various businesses he owned having irregularities. There are reports that the government has frozen several of those business bank accounts. The businesses impacted include the Eagle FC MMA promotion and a charity fund set up by Nurmagmdeov.

Eagle FC was previously known as the Gorilla Fighting Championship, and Khabib bought it for $1 million in 2020. The organization attempted to branch out and gain a fanbase. It staged one event in the United States and had several in Russia.

However, the organization has mostly fallen silent on the global stage. The best MMA news sites show that Khabib allegedly owes $3.3 million to the Russian government.

There are a number of penalties Khabib could face. He could have to forfeit his salary for several years or face the prospect of hard labor or prison. It’s hard to fathom Nurmagomedov facing an intense punishment, but the prospect of him being punished will be hotly discussed over the next few months.

Why did Khabib Retire?

Nurmagomedov, when it comes to his performance in the octagon, is a rarity. Khabib retired with a perfect 29-0 record after submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. It was the third lightweight title defense in Khabib’s career.

That ties him for the UFC record in that weight division for the most defenses, along with B.J. Penn, Frankie Edgar, and Benson Henderson. But Nurmagomedov’s mom didn’t want him to fight Gaethje. Khabib’s dad had passed away before the fight.

Khabib promised his mom that he would never fight again after that bout. So far, Khabib has kept the promise to his mom. Recently, Khabib decided to step away from the sport altogether. While Nurmagomedov had previously said he still wanted to coach, he announced his retirement from that as well to focus on family.

Would He Fight His Protege?

The lightweight division is filled with plenty of dangerous challengers. But if Khabib were to consider a return, and wants to pursue his old belt, he would have to face off with Islam Makhachev. Khabib has been in Makhachev’s corner in several fights.

While Makhachev has put together a 25-1 record, his resume may benefit greatly from fighting Khabib. Makhachev has defended the lightweight belt twice so far, but he did so against Alexander Volkanovski, who was moving up from featherweight to take him on. Makhachev will defend his championship against Dustin Poirier at UFC 302.

If Khabib wants to pursue a money fight, Conor McGregor is still active. However, it is hard to believe that Khabib would want to be involved in that kind of circus again. The build-up between the men during the first fight got ugly.

After their fight, there was a brawl between McGregor and Khabib’s team that got people suspended on both sides.

Does Khabib Have the Cash?

Verifying anyone’s net worth is an exercise in futility. People all treat their taxes differently. Money can be stashed in real estate and other investments.

When it comes to Khabib’s net worth, there are reports that he is worth $40 million. But that doesn’t mean he has $40 million in cash. Khabib will likely try to work out a deal with the government. With his status on the international level, it makes sense for both sides to try to settle things quietly.

Could Lesnar be the Example?

Many fighters have returned to competition after retiring. Some fighters retire several times before they’re either forced to or finally have the fortitude to give it up altogether. George Foreman famously came back to boxing in his fifties and surprised everyone by regaining the heavyweight championship.

MMA doesn’t have nearly as long a history as boxing. However, Brock Lesnar has shown that there is an appetite for former stars to return. MMA latest updates show that Lesnar had an electric four-year run in the UFC. He crossed over from the professional wrestling sphere, won a championship, and then was forced to retire due to health issues.

However, after five years, UFC CEO Dana White was able to lure Lesnar back into the octagon for UFC 200. While Lesnar was still dominant with his wrestling, White also had him fight Mark Hunt, who was a journeyman fighter.

Lesnar earned a large purse from the fight, then went back into retirement. Khabib could follow a similar path. Whatever event Khabib would return for would garner huge interest, especially among casual fans. Nurmagomedov hasn’t been off nearly as long as Lesnar was.

Khabib last fought in October 2020. While it is hard to tell how much training Nurmagomedov still does, it is likely he would get back on the horse for preparation. A return, even if his money troubles are as bad as reported, is unlikely. However, in the world of combat sports, it’s hard to say it will never happen.

MMA news sites are built around attempting to break news of the return of former superstar fighters.

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By Dean McHugh.