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UAE is continuing to impress the world, says UFC star Khabib

Ashwani Kumar/Abu Dhabi
Filed on August 3, 2020
Russian UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov (right)

At a time when the world of sports was immobile, Abu Dhabi staged the four-series UFC Fight Island

UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov has lauded the UAE authorities for producing defining moments for the MMA sports in July.

At a time when the world of sports was immobile, Abu Dhabi staged the four-series UFC Fight Island and followed it up with a local event - the UAE Warriors 12.

Over 12,500 Covid-19 tests were conducted inside the 'safe zone' of the Fight Island as Abu Dhabi pulled off a near impossible task to be touted as the new fight capital of the world.

And Khabib was in Abu Dhabi to be in the corner of his cousin Usman Nurmagomedov, who took on Jerry Kvarnstrom in the UAE Warriors 12. Usman, inspired by Khabib in his corner, chalked out a first-round victory at the Mubadala Arena.

"The UAE is continuing to impress the world by organising UAE Warriors during the current circumstances that pose significant challenges, especially in light of the suspension of international sporting activities due to the coronavirus pandemic," Khabib said.

This was the first overseas trip for Khabib since the demise of his father and mentor Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov in July. The undefeated lightweight champion hailed the efforts of the UAE warriors organising committee to invite and receive competitors while following all precautionary measures, as well as quarantining them in a hotel, providing training facilities and conducting regular medical tests and offering services to all organisers and referees.

Meanwhile, it is anticipated that Khabib's return to the octagon with a title unification fight against interim champion Justin Gaethje on October 24 will be in Abu Dhabi.

UFC president Dana White on Saturday after holding the MMA's return event in Las Vegas reiterated that Abu Dhabi was a successful outing.

"Abu Dhabi was an incredible experience. Abu Dhabi was successful in every way that you can call an event successful."

When White was asked if Khabib- Gaethje would be held in the Fight Island, he said: "We haven't announced where yet but probably yes."

Khabib hasn't fought since his bout against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi last September. With the existing travel restrictions, the UAE Capital remains a frontrunner to host the main event.

In another development from Team Khabib camp, the 31-year-old tweeted that he will now be working with head coach Javier Mendez. Also, Khabib with a 28-0 record made his intention known that his next opponent will be: Georges St-Pierre - the UFC legend who has retired from the sport. This bout, when it happens, will be not much for the title but for the G.O.A.T. status.

We have a zero-tolerance policy: UAE Warriors

The UAE Warriors on Monday "terminated association" with MMA fighter Ahmed Al Darmaki. During the featherweight division bout in UAE Warriors 12, the local fighter didn't release his submission choke even after his opponent Bogdan Kirilenko had tapped out. Later, Al Darmaki also pushed referee Marc Goddard a few times.

Palms Sports general manager Foud Darwish regretted the action and on Monday issued a statement. "Following the regrettable actions of one fighter at UAE Warriors 12, the organisation's committee carefully deliberated the action to be taken moving forward. Fouad Darwish has since announced the committee's decision to terminate the organisation's association with the fighter with immediate effect.Further, Darwish underscored the zero-tolerance approach towards unsportsmanlike conduct in reiterating that UAE Warriors stands committed to the nation and its people." 

ashwani@khaleejtimes.com

 


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