Former UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, announced the United States launch of Eagle FC, his new MMA promotion, at a press conference in Miami, FL on Wednesday night. While on the microphone, Nurmagomedov was asked if there were any plans for women’s fights going forward.
His answer might surprise you.
“I am like, we can watch what Julianna Pena did with Amanda Nunes [at UFC 269]. But Julianna Pena, she’s not like greatness or something like that. She just beat Amanda Nunes like [on the day]. We can watch and not many good [female] fighters all around the world. There are only like five or six of them. And so we will wait and see,” he said.
The shocking part is that he seems open to potential fights, despite his previous view about women’s roles in combat sports.
The promotion, heavily dominated by men from Russia and Dagestan, will incorporate women in color commentary as former UFC fighter, Felicia Spencer, will be in the booth. This is a huge step forward ahead of the UFC as the world’s largest and most well-known MMA promotion still has not featured a woman on a fight night or PPV, though Laura Sanko did debut on commentary for Dana White’s Contender Series.
Nurmagomedov has previously said controversial things about women, including a comment from 2014 where he said women (and liquor) spoil athletes.
“There are fighters in America who can drink on Friday and Saturday,” he told Russian media outlet ProSports.ru, (translated by MixedMartialArts.com) “After an event I saw it myself in the hotel – 80 percent of them are already drunk. Not the champs but middle-of-the-pack guys, guys like one win, two losses. A couple of times they called me with them to the club. I told them I’m a Muslim. And they were like ‘Come on, we know two Muslims and they visit the clubs with us all the time!’ … Alcohol and girls stand in a way of an athlete, they spoil him and make him weak.”
Just this year Nurmagomedov made waves when he declared “ring girls are the most unnecessary people in martial arts,” at a Russian press conference.
So while many won’t be surprised at the lack of WMMA fights, some might be shocked to know he’d consider it.
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