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Top UFC lightweight contender Arman Tsarukyan has been issued with a nine-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his involvement in an altercation with a fan while walking to the cage for his UFC 300 bout with Charles Oliveira in April. 

The incident occurred when a fan allegedly insulted Tsarukyan (apparently by displaying his middle finger) which prompted the 27-year-old fighter to appear to throw a punch at the fan in question.

“He showed me ‘F*ck you’ and he wanted to punch me and I wanted to punch him back,” Tsarukyan said of the incident post-fight. “That’s it. So guys, no one show me ‘F*ck you.’ It doesn’t matter who you are, I’m going to punch you in the face.”

In addition to the nine-month suspension, Tsarukyan has been issued with a $25,000 fine along with almost $500 of associated administrative costs.

The suspension could be reduced to six months if Tsarukyan completes an anti-bulling PSA on behalf of the Nevada commission. In that event, the suspension would end by mid-October — potentially allowing him to compete at a UFC event scheduled for October 26 in Abu Dhabi.

Tsarukyan is widely expected to be the next challenger to Islam Makhachev’s UFC lightweight title and the details of the suspension led to concerns that he would be unavailable to fight Makhachev at the promotion’s preferred date.

The Armenian is 22-3 in his career to date, and was defeated by Makhachev in his short notice UFC debut back in 2019.