Arman Tsarukyan suspended for nine months after striking fan during UFC 300 walkout

Arman Tsarukyan has been suspended from fighting for nine months after striking a fan at UFC 300.

The lightweight, who is expected to challenge champion Islam Makhachev next, threw a punch at a fan while making his ring walk in April.

The fan appeared to reach out and make an offensive gesture at Tsarukyan first, before the fighter was restrained by security, halting the incident at Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena.

Tsarukyan then proceeded to outpoint former champion Charles Oliveira, almost certainly securing a shot at Makhachev before the end of the year. However, that has been complicated by Tsarukyan’s nine-month ban, which is backdated to 13 April.

But Tsarukyan, who has also been fined $25,000 for the incident at UFC 300, can reduce his ban to six months by recording an anti-bullying message for the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

If Tsarukyan, 27, is able to reduce his ban, he may yet get his title fight with Makhachev at UFC 308 on 26 October. The event is set to take place in Abu Dhabi.

Tsarukyan is riding a four-fight win streak in the UFC, while Russia’s Makhachev extended his own winning run to 14 by submitting Dustin Poirier this month.

Makhachev, 32, outpointed Tsarukyan in 2019, on the latter’s UFC debut, before winning the lightweight title in 2022.

Since submitting Oliveira to win the belt, Makhachev has retained the gold against Poirier and Alexander Volkanovski. The Russian outpointed the latter in February 2023 and knocked him out in October. Volkanovski was featherweight champion during each of those fights.