Home/UFC

via Getty

Khabib Nurmagomedov may be in serious trouble. The former UFC lightweight champion, considered one of the greatest mixed martial artists in the history of the sport, has been involved in various businesses (most notably the now-inactive Eagle FC) since he retired in 2020 after his father passed away from COVID-19. And it is because of these ventures that the 35-year-old finds himself in trouble with the Russian tax authorities.

While many think his retirement was premature and prevented him from cementing his legacy as possibly the greatest MMA fighter to ever live, Nurmagomedov has never looked back. These ventures are what he gives his blood, sweat, and tears to now. However, according to multiple reports, ‘The Eagle’ reportedly owes $3.3 million (or just over 300 million roubles) in taxes to the Russian Federal Tax Service, the country’s tax collection agency.

Per a report in mma.metarating.ru, the tax agency has questioned Nurmagomedov regarding the $3.3 million he owes in taxes. This resulted from them finding alleged irregularities in the paperwork of multiple companies currently or formerly owned by Nurmagomedov. And ‘The Eagle’ will probably be looking to move heaven and earth to take care of this tax issue, as he could potentially face serious consequences otherwise.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Nurmagomedov’s case falls under Article 199 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – “Non-payment of taxes on an especially large scale.” If found guilty, the former champion could potentially face some severe penalties. Per mma.metarating.ru, these include: –

  • a fine of 200-500 thousand rubles, or an amount equivalent to Nurmagomedov’s salary over a period of two to three years
  • forced labor for up to three years
  • he may not have the right to hold certain positions and engage in certain activities
  • imprisonment for up to six years

via Getty

Over and above this, Mash reported that Nurmagomedov has been actively investing in hotels in Turkey and startups in the UAE. As quoted by sport24.ru, “Because of this, the tax authorities had another question for the champion: did he send 306,242,929 rubles, which should be in the Russian treasury, to the East?” [Translated by Google]

Khabib Nurmagomedov retired four years ago, putting an end to one of the most dominant careers in MMA history. In his 13 fights at the Las Vegas-based promotion, Nurmagomedov defeated every opponent in front of him convincingly and barely ever dropped a round. However, after his father’s death, he made a promise to his mother that he would quit his martial arts career. And the Dagestani did just that despite UFC CEO Dana White reportedly offering him obscene amounts of money to come back.

With the newly uncovered financial burden, many fans wonder if Nurmagomedov will entertain a return to the UFC for a quick paycheck. Of course, ‘The Eagle’ could easily negotiate more than $3.3 million for a return bout against any of the top lightweight or welterweights on the roster. It could even go into an eight-figure payday if a Conor McGregor rematch happens. But if the Russian chooses a non-UFC path, what are his alternatives?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

What could Nurmagomedov do next?

If Khabib Nurmagomedov is unable to prove his innocence or settle with the Russian tax agency and is taken to court by them, he is staring down the barrel of significant penalties, the same ones mentioned earlier. While the Federal Tax Service has blocked accounts of some of Nurmagomedov’s companies, no formal charges have been filed yet. In addition, ‘The Eagle’s version of events is unknown, as the former champion has yet to break his silence on the affair.

Back in 2020, he purchased the Gorilla Fighting Championship for $1 million and rebranded it to Eagle FC. The promotion made its US debut in 2022 but primarily held shows in countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. And in 2023, Khabib chose to distance himself from all things mainstream MMA to have more time for family.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Eagle FC President at the time was worried that the promotion would fall apart since Khabib was the focal selling point. They held a few shows in 2023, with the last one in November. With this new-found issue, Khabib Nurmagomedov could potentially venture into the promotional scene once again and try to sort this situation out.

What are your thoughts about the whole affair? Let us know in the comments below.