Putin meets Nurmagomedov, hails his win over McGregor

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              Khabib Nurmagomedov is held back outside of the cage after fighting Conor McGregor in a lightweight title mixed martial arts bout at UFC 229 in Las Vegas, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Nurmagomedov won the fight by submission during the fourth round to retain the title. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has met with Khabib Nurmagomedov to congratulate him on winning the UFC lightweight title, and defended the fighter’s actions in the brawl that followed his victory over Conor McGregor.

Putin hailed Nurmagomedov’s “convincing” victory in the highly anticipated mixed martial arts bout in Las Vegas on Saturday, and said the champion’s decision to then climb over the cage and fight with members of McGregor’s corner had been provoked by insults.

The brawl also featured two men from Nurmagomedov’s entourage climbing into the cage and attacking McGregor.

Nurmagomedov told Putin on Wednesday he was sorry that he lost self-control, but that he had heard McGregor’s camp insulting his father and his country.

Putin joked that he would ask Nurmagomedov’s father, who was also present at the meeting, not to punish him too severely.

The president added that “not just you, but all of us can jump out like that if assaulted.”