Tagged in: promotion

Khabib Nurmagomedov adding Kevin Lee, 165-pound weight class to his promotion, Eagle FC

As an active fighter, Khabib Nurmagomedov was one of the most influential figures in mixed martial arts. It seems he will continue to be one in his retirement.

Nurmagomedov, 33, revealed on Wednesday that his MMA promotion, Eagle FC, has signed former UFC lightweight Kevin Lee to an exclusive contract. Nurmagomedov also said his company plans to permanently open a new 165-pound weight class — a topic of debate in the sport for some time.

Lee (18-7) fought in the UFC from 2014 to 2021. He competed at 155 and 170 pounds but campaigned — unsuccessfully — for the addition of a 165-pound weight class.

“It’s going to be big news for a lot of fighters around the world,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN. “I know a lot of fighters want 165. A lot of fighters can’t make 155 and they are a little small at 170.

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“Honestly, this is not only about Kevin Lee. This is about a lot of fighters. I know because when I was a fighter, how I was feeling in there and I was talking with a lot of fighters around the world, they were asking, ‘Why other promotions — UFC, Bellator, PFL — why they not make 165?'”

Nurmagomedov even encouraged UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier to join his 165-pound weight class.

Poirier is signed to the UFC and just came up short in a title bid versus Charles Oliveira at UFC 269 over the weekend in Las Vegas.

Born in Dagestan, Nurmagomedov purchased Eagle FC in 2020. The promotion is holding its first U.S.-based event on Jan. 28 in Miami. The retired former champ says he has big plans for his promotion, and expects it to become a global brand.

“I have so much knowledge and I can share my knowledge with a lot of people,” Nurmagomedov said. “I can make comfortable position for a lot of fighters around the world. Right now, we are going to create a new system.

You guys will know very soon about this platform, where fighters will be happy. More happy than they’ve been with other organizations. Nothing against our big brothers, but this business have to move on.”

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Bills promote Leslie Frazier to assistant head coach

Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier obtained the additional job title of assistant head coach on Wednesday.

Frazier was hired as the Bills’ defensive coordinator in 2017 and quickly turned around a unit that was ranked 26th in the NFL in yards allowed to top-2 and top-3 finishes, respectively, in the last two seasons.

“Upon taking the job in Buffalo, it was important to me to add a coach with previous head coaching experience like Leslie,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said.

“His fingerprints are all over our operation and I’m extremely grateful for all the years we have worked together. Leslie’s impact on our team is felt every day through his guidance, wisdom, and his genuine care for people. He is a great example to everyone within our organization.”

Frazier, 60, will be an assistant head coach for the third time in his NFL career. He also served in that role with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 and Minnesota Vikings in 2008.

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Frazier, who was also the head coach of the Vikings from 2010-13, was thrilled with the promotion.

“I’m definitely pleased and honored that Sean along with Kim and Terry (Pegula) would feel moved to place that title alongside my name,” Frazier said. “I don’t know how much it changes my role. I feel like Sean and I communicate on so many things regarding our team. I just appreciate that our ownership along with our head coach felt the desire to put that title next to my name. Just very appreciative.”

Frazier started his NFL coaching career with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 until 2002, where he worked with McDermott on Jim Johnson’s defensive staff. He coached with the Cincinnati Bengals and Colts before joining the Vikings.

Frazier’s prior experience — both as a head coach and with McDermott — made him a priority hire for McDermott when he was named a first-time head coach with Buffalo in 2017.

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