UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov wants people to respect the stay-at-home orders that have been issued as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the globe.
The undefeated Russian, who returned home to Dagestan prior to his UFC 249 fight against Tony Ferguson being postponed, has spoken previously about the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak that has infected more than 3 million people worldwide.
Just this week, Russia announced a spike in COVID-19 infections with 6,411 announced on Tuesday, bringing the country’s total to 93,558 with 867 deaths.
“Many hoped that this trouble would pass our house by; many still don’t believe in the seriousness of the situation,” Nurmagomedov wrote on his Instagram page (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.
“Believe me. This disease is deadly and we already feel it. 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.”
Russian president Vladimir Putin extended the country’s stay-at-home orders through May 11 with plans to hopefully work towards a “phased exit” to allow people to return to work after that date.
“The daily increase in cases has relatively stabilized, but this mustn’t calm us down, the situation is still very serious,” Putin said. “The peak is not behind us, we are about to face a new and grueling phase of the pandemic… the deadly threat of the virus remains.”
Nurmagomedov initially returned home to Dagestan to finish his training camp after he was told UFC 249 was likely moving locations to Abu Dhabi. When that fell apart, the reigning lightweight champion was essentially trapped at home after Russia issued travel restrictions to prevent people from leaving or entering the country to slow the spread of the deadly disease.
Nurmagomedov is currently observing Ramadan until May 23 with plans to fight again later this year with a targeted return date around September.