Khabib Criticizes UFC St. Petersburg Promotion, UFC Exec Responds

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Khabib Nurmagomedov
Fernando Quiles Jr., MMA News

Khabib Nurmagomedov has expressed discontent with the UFC St. Petersburg promotion and a UFC executive has responded.

Nurmagomedov was in attendance for UFC St. Petersburg, which took place inside the Yubileyny Sports Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia yesterday (April 20). The UFC lightweight champion supported his longtime friend and teammate Islam Makhachev, who nabbed a unanimous decision victory over Arman Tsarukyan.

Khabib & UFC Exec Disagree Over UFC St. Petersburg Promotion

During an M-1 Q&A session before the event, Nurmagomedov said he wasn’t a fan of how UFC St. Petersburg was being promoted:

“I think the UFC should have a different policy. UFC need to pay attention to our fighters.”

During the UFC St. Petersburg post-fight press conference, the senior vice president of international and content David Shaw offered a response to Nurmagomedov (via MMAJunkie.com):

“I think I would probably respectfully disagree with Khabib on that one. If you look at what we’ve done, look back, we opened up the office in Moscow … 10 months ago. And in even 10 months we’ve held an event with 23,000 people at Olimpiysky Stadium in Moscow and now here at Yubileyny (Sports Palace), we’re averaging about 15,000 people.”

Shaw continued by talking about the UFC’s efforts in promoting their Russian fighters:

“Throughout those times, we’ve had a considerable amount on the card that has been occupied by Russian and CIS athletes there was tonight at least one fighter in every fight, I think we might have had out of 22, maybe we had 11 fighters, 12 fighters of Russian, CIS descent. The amount of marketing and promotion that went in, the thoughtfulness that went into creating the card in that we don’t just want to have Russian fighters. We had Dagestani fighters. We had Shevchenko on the card as well, right. We’re trying to get a good representation of the whole area.”