With Khabib Nurmagomedov facing flight restrictions due to the coronavirus, UFC 249: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje was for the interim championship belt.
While most anticipated Ferguson would win the lightweight championship belt to set up the matchup with Nurmagomedov once again, Gaethje had other plans.
As president Dana White expects Nurmagomedov and Gaethje to unify the belts in June at Fight Island, there has been an unfortunate development for the champion.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov reportedly is in a coma in a Moscow military hospital after being diagnosed with pneumonia/flu-like symptoms, according to RT Sports:
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, father and trainer of UFC lightweight champion Khabib, is reported to be in a coma in a military hospital in Moscow, according to sources in his Dagestan homeland.
After initially being hospitalized with suspected pneumonia in Russia’s Republic of Dagestan, the 57-year-old is now reportedly alone and in critical condition in a Moscow hospital, where he had been taken via special flight last week, according to multiple reports in Russian media.
While White kept his statement general, he is ‘saddened to hear’ about Nurmagomedov’s current state and wishes his family well, via UFC:
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov is a true martial artist who lives a life of pride, honor and respect. He instilled those same values in his son, world champion Khabib, at an early age and was always in his corner throughout his career. I know how close Khabib is with his father and I’m saddened to hear about his current state. My thoughts are with Abdulmanap and the Nurmagomedov family as he continues to fight.”
Considering the well-documented father and son bond they have and how much respect Nurmagomedov has for his father, this is extremely sad and difficult.
While much of the attention has been on Nurmagomedov being unable to fight Ferguson or Gaethje as his next opponent, the only priority is his father’s health.
Although it is currently unclear what this means for Nurmagomedov and his future, the hope is his father makes a full recovery and can continue to corner his son.
Our thoughts are with the Nurmagomedov family during this difficult time.