Khabib Nurmagomedov, despite being undefeated in the UFC, has been on the receiving end of racial slurs and abuse from the UFC fanbase. Nurmagomedov’s plight is all the more poignant given that he is a Muslim and a proud member of the Russian ethnicity.
Nurmagomedov’s story began in 2006, when he was just nine years old and living in a small town in the Russian republic of Dagestan. His father, an amateur wrestler, taught Khabib how to fight. After winning a regional wrestling championship, Nurmagomedov’s father sent him to train at a wrestling camp in Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital.
Nurmagomedov’s impressive amateur wrestling career caught the attention of then-UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver, who invited him to train with the UFC in Las Vegas. Nurmagomedov made his professional MMA debut in November of 2007, and won his first six fights. In October of 2015, Nurmagomedov won the UFC lightweight championship by defeating Conor McGregor in the fourth round.
Despite his impressive record, Nurmagomedov has been the target of racial slurs and abuse from the UFC fanbase. In October of 2015, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor called Nurmagomedov a “fucking terrorist” after the two fought in the fourth round of the UFC’s lightweight title fight.
Nurmagomedov’s story is all the more poignant given that he is a Muslim and a proud member of the Russian ethnicity. Muslims are often the target of Islamophobia, and Nurmagomedov has experienced first-hand the prejudice and discrimination that Muslims face in the United States and other Western nations.
The UFC’s treatment of Khabib Nurmagomedov is inexcusable. The promotion needs to take a stand against the fan abuse and racism that Nurmagomedov has endured, and make clear that it will not tolerate any form of discrimination.
UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov has agreed to a three-fight contract with the UFC.
The Dagestani fighter, who has won three out of his past four fights, will make his debut against Mike Perry on September 15th in Las Vegas.
Nurmagomedov, 28, is the only fighter in the lightweight division who has not been linked to a major MMA organization. He has made his name in the WEC and Cage Warriors promotions.
The stipend and other terms of the contract were not disclosed.