Reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov returned to Dagestan last month as the coronavirus pandemic started shutting down operations around the world, including his training camp in California.
It was a decision that cost him an opportunity to compete against Tony Ferguson at the upcoming UFC 249 pay-per-view (PPV) event on May 9 in Florida, but “The Eagle” appears to be more concerned about the health and safety of his fellow countrymen.
“Many hoped that this trouble would pass our house by; many still don’t believe in the seriousness of the situation,” Nurmagomedov wrote on social media (translation by RT Sport). “However, our negligence toward the advice and requests of doctors, coupled with the panic that has developed among the people, has led to a high rate of the spread of the disease, worsening an already difficult situation every day. This has led to the fact that our hospitals are now overcrowded with patients, there aren’t enough specialists or drugs, and the number of patients is only growing.”
Russian president Vladimir Putin extended the nation’s lockdown through May 11 after a spike in coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing its total to 93,558 infections with 867 deaths. That prompted Nurmagomedov to urge his followers to stay at home and “save lives.”
“Believe me, this disease is deadly and we already feel it,” Nurmagomedov continued. “Staying at home, we can reduce the burden on doctors and hospitals, and perhaps our timely care will save lives. Take care of your loved ones, do not let them out of the house unnecessarily. May Allah protect us all from all diseases and cure the sick and loved ones all around the world.”
Nurmagomedov is expected to make his UFC return in September.