The father and former trainer of Russian Mixed Martial Arts star Khabib Nurmagomedov has died at 57 after contracting coronavirus, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov announced on Friday.
"I've received sad news, friends, that Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov has left this world," Kadyrov wrote on Telegram messenger, saying he was expressing the condolences of the "whole Chechen people."
The fighter's father was first hospitalised in April in his native North Caucasus region of Dagestan and was later transferred to a Moscow clinic.
Khabib Nurmagomedov, the 31-year-old UFC lightweight champion, in May urged people in Dagestan, one of the regions hardest hit by the pandemic, to be "disciplined" and "listen to our doctors."
This week he posted a picture of his tracksuited father at a training session on Instagram with the caption "Father" as followers said they were praying for his recovery.
A week ago the fighter had given an interview to Russian television, saying that his father no longer had the virus but was still in intensive care with damage to his kidneys and heart. He said he was visiting daily although his father was not able to speak to him.
The fighter was due to give a press conference on Saturday that has now been cancelled.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov trained numerous champions in judo and the Russian martial arts discipline sambo.
He began teaching his son fighting moves from the age of three, Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid reported.
In 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a televised meeting with Khabib Nurmagomedov and his father, saying that the fighter did not deserve harsh punishment for a post-fight brawl.
Coach hailed as ‘one of the greatest’
Not long after a young Khabib Nurmagomedov came to train at his American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California, Javier Mendez welcomed the fighter’s father, Abdulmanap, to the facility.
Nurmagomedov at that point was a prospect of great promise, and his father had coached him from the beginning. Abdulmanap stayed at AKA for a month and one thing stood out to Mendez.
“This guy is one of the greatest MMA coaches ever and not one time did he interfere with the way I was coaching his son or tell me what to do or anything,” Mendez told Yahoo Sports on Friday, not long after news of the the 57-year-old Nurmagomedov’s death in Russia due to complications from COVID-19 was announced.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov (1962-2020)— UFC_AUSNZ (@UFC_AUSNZ) July 3, 2020
The UFC family sends its sincerest condolences to the Nurmagomedov family on the passing of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. pic.twitter.com/l25WpsUKEX
“As great of a coach as he was, as great as he knew his son was going to be in the UFC, he just stayed away and observed and let me do my job. You don’t find that often.
“Most parents who send their son to you, who have far less credentials than (Nurmagomedov) did, interfere and give their opinions. He was not that way.”
Mendez said he has coached “countless” fighters who were begun in the sport by Abdulmanap. All of them, Mendez said, were excellent grapplers who were highly disciplined and motivated and among the hardest workers he’d coached.
Abdulmanap and Mendez worked Khabib’s corner together for UFC 242 last year in Abu Dhabi, when Khabib submitted then-interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier in the second round to retain the belt.
With Yahoo Sports US/Kevin Iole