- MMA columnist for ESPN.com
- Analyst for “MMA Live”
- Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun
Undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov confirmed reports of his father being in critical condition due to COVID-19 on Monday.
Speaking on Instagram in Russian, Nurmagomedov, 31, confirmed his father, Abdulmanap, recently underwent heart surgery due to complications stemming from a previous ailment and the coronavirus. He went on to encourage people around the world to remain in self-isolation to combat the pandemic.
“In my personal case, I’ve had more than 20 people sick from my family,” said Nurmagomedov, as translated by ESPN. “More than 20 people were lying in the ICUs. And many of them are no longer among us. Many acquaintances have died, many parents of my relatives. Everybody is having a hard time dealing with it.
“There is a lot written on the Internet about my father. My father, right now, is located in a hospital. He is in critical condition as a result of this virus. It impacted his heart, because last year he had a surgery there and right now, they did another surgery. He is in a very difficult situation, very difficult. We are asking Allah that he returns him to us.”
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov is widely credited by Nurmagomedov, his U.S.-based coach Javier Mendez and his manager and friend Ali Abdelaziz as the main force behind Nurmagomedov’s career. He is responsible for getting Nurmagomedov into the sport of wrestling at a very young age.
Nurmagomedov, who lives in Dagestan, is a devout Muslim, and is currently observing Ramadan, a religious fasting period. He encouraged Muslims to observe the end of the Muslim holiday in the absence of guests, rather than the traditional gatherings.
“Our learned Islamic scholars are telling us, ‘Stay home and do the holiday prayer,'” Nurmagomedov said. “‘Don’t have guests. Don’t go yourselves as guests.’ It is a very difficult situation.”
Nurmagomedov (28-0) was supposed to defend his 155-pound title against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on April 18, but was forced to withdraw from the bout due to travel restrictions out of Russia. He was eventually replaced in the fight by Justin Gaethje, who went on to defeat Ferguson and claim an interim lightweight title.
Nurmagomedov has not commented on a potential fight date, in the wake of his father’s condition. UFC president Dana White, who has made several public comments wishing Nurmagomedov’s father the best over the last week, has said he’s targeting a fight between Nurmagomedov and Gaethje for September.
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