UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov agitated by order to meet with media ahead of bout vs. Dustin Poirier

Sporting News

Could the pressure of being the marquee attraction of a pay-per-view event be getting to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov?

Nurmagomedov received backlash after he refused to participate in Thursday's UFC 242 media day. He did a stareoff with opponent and interim titleholder Dustin Poirier, and then walked off.

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Nurmagomedov was about to do the same thing Friday after another staredown with Poirier following the official weigh-ins, but the UFC stepped in and told Nurmagomedov he had to speak with the assembled media who had traveled to Abu Dhabi.

Not happy about having to fulfill that obligation, Nurmagomedov took out his anger and frustration on reporters.

"I said (Thursday) I (would) come (to media day) but (not) talk with media," he said. "I come, stare down, and I leave. But why I don't talk with media? Because three months, same questions. Father? What do you think about Dustin? What do you think? You respect him? No? How was your training camp?

"Ninety percent the same thing. Right now, same thing."

The bout vs. Poirier will be Nurmagomedov's third consecutive main-event fight. He defeated Al Iaquinta, a late replacement for Max Holloway, at UFC 223 in April 2018 to win the vacant 155-pound title. Last October, in the biggest pay-per-view fight in UFC history, Nurmagomedov submitted Conor McGregor. Saturday's event has been centered on the Dagestani champion, but Friday's mandate was the straw that broke his back.

"Right now, I want to leave, but they say, 'No, you have to go,'" Nurmagomedov said. "You guys have 90 percent (the) same questions. How many times (have) I give(n) answer(s) about my father? Maybe for this week, 15 or 20. One question."

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