Sports

MMA star Khabib urges ‘discipline’ amid Dagestan virus outbreak

Russian mixed martial arts fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov has appealed to residents of his native Dagestan to follow containment rules, as his father was put on a ventilator after catching the novel coronavirus.

The undefeated UFC lightweight champion took to Instagram late Monday (May 18) to urge people in the southern Russian region to be “disciplined” and to “listen to our doctors” during the epidemic.

Nurmagomdev enjoys celebrity status in Dagestan, where the Covid-19 situation has been described as a “catastrophe” by officials, forcing President Vladimir Putin to intervene.

The government promised to send additional equipment to the region, where over 600 people died of “pneumonia”, according to health officials.

The 31-year-old told his 20 million followers in a video that doctors are “pleading” for people to stay at home, even as the majority-Muslim region gears up to celebrate the end of Ramadan on Sunday.

“It’s a very difficult situation. I personally have over 20 relatives... who were in intensive care. Many of them are not with us any more. Many of my acquaintances are dead,” Nurmagomedov said.

His own father was in “very serious condition”.

“On top of this virus, he started having heart problems,” he added.

News agencies reported on Monday that his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who trained his son from an early age, was put on a ventilator in a hospital in Moscow. – AFP

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