Khabib Nurmagomedov Allegedly Has Tax Issues; Could He Fight in the UFC Again?

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov is a legend in mixed martial arts, retiring in October 2020 with a 29-0 record after his father passed away.
  • Nurmagomedov allegedly has tax issues with Russia and has moved to the United Arab Emirates to gain citizenship.
  • There are odds out on whether Nurmagomedov will fight again in the UFC in light of his alleged tax problems.

There is no question that Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. The Dagestani fighter was undefeated in his career, going 29-0. Nurmagomedov was the UFC’s lightweight king from April 2018 to October 2020, defending the belt four times.

However, his father, Abdulmanap, passed away in May 2020 due to COVID-19 complications after heart surgery. Nurmagomedov retired after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. Abdulmanap trained his son for his entire career.

But Nurmagomedov could be in for the fight of his life. It is reported by MMA Weekly that “The Eagle” had to leave Russia because of tax issues. This has forced Nurmagomedov to head to the United Arab Emirates to apply for citizenship. It has also opened the door for a potential return to the octagon.

Nurmagomedov Allegedly Owes $3.3 in Taxes, Eagle FC in Limbo

The MMA Weekly report alleges that Nurmagomedov owes $3.3 million in taxes to the Russian government. Another MMA Weekly report from one day earlier, on July 1, states that his bank account had been seized.

However, an Instagram post from Champ.rds revealed, via TASS Russian News Agency, that Nurmagomedov and his camp are denying the allegations.

This post was from May 14, so Nurmagomedov might have known that something was coming. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Nurmagomedov in retirement. He bought Russian MMA promotion Gorilla Fighting Championship in 2020, and renamed it Eagle Fighting Championship, after his nickname.

He managed to get some recognized MMA fighters to join the promotion, including former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos. However, Dos Santos, with other fighters, left the organization due to a lack of activity. The last Eagle FC card was held on November 11, 2023, and there is no word on whether it will continue.

It should be said that Nurmagomedov has been training Islam Makhachev, who was trained by Nurmagomedov’s father. The two are very close. Makhachev is the UFC’s lightweight champion since October 2022.  

This has led to Nurmagomedov heading to the United Arab Emirates for citizenship. In the UAE, you don’t have to pay taxes, so that’s one reason Nurmagomedov would leave. Furthermore, as a Muslim, Nurmagomedov would be welcomed there and is already very popular in the area.

Could Nurmagomedov Really Return to the UFC? Would He Fight McGregor Again?

Popular online sportsbook Bovada has posted odds on when Nurmagomedov will fight again in the UFC.

The odds for 2024 are slim at +2500. Nurmagomedov is probably still training, but not hard enough for a fight. However, the UFC betting online odds for 2025 are intriguing at +1200. That’s still a high number, but it’s in the realm of possibility if Nurmagomedov is still having his tax problems with Russia.

The only fight that makes sense with Nurmagomedov is a rematch with Conor McGregor. They legitimately don’t like each other (and that is probably a major understatement). Tapology reveals that their fight at UFC 229 is the highest-selling pay-per-view of all time, by a wide margin.

McGregor is at the point of his career where money fights are his main goal, and this rematch with Nurmagomedov fits the bill. The first one wasn’t much of a fight, as Nurmagomedov mauled McGregor on the ground, and even scored a knockdown with an overhand right against McGregor, the more accomplished striker.

Nurmagomedov finished McGregor with a neck crank in the fourth round. He then jumped over the cage to fight McGregor’s teammates, who were insulting Nurmagomedov ahead of the fight. Moreover, McGregor and his camp attacked Nurmagomedov’s team bus before the fight.

There’s a built-in storyline there, and the fight would sell like gangbusters, especially with McGregor’s promotion skills. If they fought, it would most likely end Nurmagomedov’s tax issues.

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Finn Archer
Finn is an experienced writer (having published articles under the name Phil Bowman) and longtime sports enthusiast based in Europe. His particular passion lies in soccer, as both a die-hard fan and seasoned bettor. That said, he’ll dabble in anything involving a ball, bat, or boxing gloves! He’s learned from his share of bad bets over the years and is keen to impart his wisdom so you don’t make the same mistakes. Since joining TSG, Finn has also gained valuable knowledge in the world of online casinos.

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