Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, the father of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, has died due to COVID-19 complications. The UFC fighter's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, confirmed the news to ESPN on Friday. He said that Nurmagomedov passed away in Moscow, where he was hospitalized in mid-May.
TMZ Sports reported in May that Nurmagomedov had been placed in a medically-induced coma after reportedly contracting pneumonia. He was listed as being in critical condition at the time. Doctors diagnosed him with the coronavirus while he was in the hospital. Nurmagomedovalso later underwent heart surgery for a preexisting further complicated by the virus.
“Everything - what I have - I have because of my team, my father.” pic.twitter.com/JUcRn404Ai— UFC (@ufc) July 3, 2020
"We've lost our backbone," Ali Abdelaziz told ESPN. "He was a father, coach, brother, an icon. Things will never be the same without him." Khabib has not released a statement about his father's death, but several UFC fighters and fans alike offered their condolences on social media.
"The loss of a father, a coach, and a dedicated supporter of the sport. Condolences and rest in peace Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov," Conor McGregor tweeted on Friday. The two lightweight fighters have a very combative history together, but the retired fighter still expressed his support following the tragic news. McGregor previously tweeted that he was praying for Nurmagomedov's recovery when news of the hospitalization surfaced in May.
Abdelaziz conducted an interview with ESPN in early June and said that Nurmagomedov was improving at the time. The legendary trainer remained in serious condition but had shown signs of progress. He reportedly opened his eyes and spoke to Khabib.
"Khabib is very strong, his family is very strong and his father is very strong," Abdelaziz said in June. "He's improving. He opened his eyes, responding a little bit — good sign. Allah is in control. We have faith he will be better, but at the end of the day, it's completely up to his health whether it progresses or not. But he's progressing, and we're very happy about this."
There were questions about Khabib's UFC future at the time of his father's hospitalization. The coronavirus pandemic kept him in Russia and unable to travel to the United States for a title fight. Justin Gaethje defeated Tony Ferguson to capture the interim title, but UFC President Dana White expressed a desire to set up a title bout. Abdelaziz confirmed that Khabib still trained twice a day and had plans on facing Gaethje to unify the title.