UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s future clouded by reports of father and trainer’s ill health – The Washington Post

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“He regained consciousness today. He hasn’t yet spoken. Yesterday [Wednesday] he was in a coma after a heart operation,” family friend Ramazan Rabadanov told 360 TV, according to RT.

UFC President Dana White expressed sympathy for the Nurmagomedov family Wednesday on Twitter.

“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,” White wrote. “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.”

Conor McGregor, who lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018 and has since feuded with him, also expressed sympathy.

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, 57, has been a longtime trainer in freestyle wrestling, judo and the Russian self-defense technique known as sambo. He began training his son at the age of 8 and has overseen his rise to the top of UFC’s lightweight division, and Khabib Nurmagomedov now is considered the best pound-for-pound mixed martial arts fighter in the world.

On Tuesday, White told ESPN that he expected the undefeated Nurmagomedov to defend his title against Justin Gaethje — who defeated Tony Ferguson for the UFC interim lightweight championship on Saturday — sometime this summer at the company’s “Fight Island,” the still-undisclosed location where White hopes to establish a complex for training and UFC events during the coronavirus pandemic. White said that he hoped to finish construction on the island “by mid-June.”

Nurmagomedov was scheduled to defend his title against Ferguson at a Brooklyn pay-per-view event in April that UFC canceled because of the pandemic. Because of travel restrictions, Nurmagomedov then got stuck in his native Dagestan and could not return to the United States to train and fight. Nurmagomedov, a Muslim, currently is observing the holy month of Ramadan, which ends May 23, and the fasting involved means he cannot train at the level needed for a title defense. In March, he told ESPN that he needs a minimum of 45 days after Ramadan ends to properly train for a fight, which would push any title defense into July. His father’s health could complicate matters further.

Even before Saturday’s Gaethje-Ferguson bout, White said the winner’s next bout would be a title shot at Nurmagomedov. On Monday, however, McGregor announced his desire to fight Gaethje, with the winner of that bout then fighting Nurmagomedov.

White indicated this week that McGregor would have to wait his turn.

“Any time Conor McGregor is fighting, it’s exciting, but yeah, I’m very excited for Gaethje versus Khabib,” White told ESPN. “I think stylistically it’s a great matchup. I’m looking forward to it.”

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