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07th Mar 2017

Scary details emerge of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s 4am rush to Las Vegas hospital

"I panicked... I wanted to help him"

Patrick McCarry

Weight cuts are absolutely brutal in mixed martial arts. Tony Ferguson says he went through hell to make weight for UFC 209.

Khabib Nurmagomedov had it worse.

‘The Eagle’ was due to face Ferguson for the interim lightweight belt at UFC 209, last weekend, but was pulled from the fight after a late-night rush to a Las Vegas hospital.

Nurmagomedov was struggling to drop the last six pounds required to weigh in at 155lbs. Earlier in the week, fight fans had seen footage of the Dagestani sitting in a sauna in tracksuits and pouring sweat from it.

The process of weight cutting usually relies heavily on draining water from the body only to take fluids back on after fighters have been to the scales. This left Nurmagomedov severely dehydrated and in considerable pain.

Ali Abedl-Aziz, Nurmagomedov’s manager, went on The MMA Hour to offer up some details to what he described as ‘one of the worst weeks of my career as a manager’. He said:

“Normally we’re supposed to get back at 6 o’clock in the morning and cut weight, but at 3:45 in the morning I went to the room — and my room was right next to his room, and he was in so much pain.

“And after that I panicked. Because this is not just somebody I manage, this is my little brother. I have a different relationship with all the guys I manage, because if I can’t be your friend or we can’t be like brothers, we can’t work together.”

UFC president Dana White criticised Nurmagomedov’s team for not calling them for advice and medical support when the fighter fell ill.

Abdel-Aziz admits he panicked but his immediate reactions all played out in good faith. He continued:

“I wanted to bring some care to him. I thought about calling 911, but I thought, listen, we can pick him up. When we picked him up, the whole group, he couldn’t even walk. We put him in my car and drove straight to the hospital. On the way to the hospital I tried to get a hold of the UFC. It was 4 o’clock in the morning by the time I got to the car.

“Normally, for the last eight or nine years that I’ve worked with the UFC, if anything happens you call two people — the matchmaker, and Dana White — and I did both. But of course at 4 o’clock in the morning, I didn’t know who to call.”

Abdel-Aziz says Nurmagomedov argued with a doctor, who want to place him on an intravenous [IV] drip, for ‘almost an hour-and-a-half’ before the pain became too great and he had to cede to medical advice.

The IV took his weight up to around the 165lbs mark so ‘there was no way’ the fight with Ferguson, 36 hours later, could happen.

Abdel-Aziz also ruled out the possibility of Ferguson-Nurmagomedov taking place at UFC 210, next month, and suggested UFC 211 [on May 13] in Dallas could be in the mix. As a Muslim, Nurmagomedov will observe Ramadan from May 26 this year.

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