May 18 (UPI) -- UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov said Monday that his father is in critical condition because of the coronavirus.
Nurmagomedov, speaking in Russian, confirmed his father, Abdulmanap, recently underwent a heart procedure due to complications stemming from a previous ailment and COVID-19. In the Instagram post, he encouraged people around the world to remain in isolation to fight the pandemic.
"In my personal case, I've had more than 20 people sick from my family," Nurmagomedov said. "More than 20 people were lying in the ICUs. And many of them are no longer among us. Many acquaintances have died, many parents of my relatives. Everybody is having a hard time dealing with it.
"There is a lot written on the Internet about my father. My father, right now, is located in a hospital. He is in critical condition as a result of this virus. It impacted his heart, because last year he had a surgery there and right now, they did another surgery. He is in a very difficult situation, very difficult. We are asking Allah that he returns him to us."
Nurmagomedov, who resides in Dagestan, is a devout Muslim and is currently observing Ramadan, a religious fasting period. In his message on social media, he urged Muslims to observe the end of Ramadan without guests.
"Our learned Islamic scholars are telling us, 'Stay home and do the holiday prayer,'" Nurmagomedov said. "'Don't have guests. Don't go yourselves as guests.' It is a very difficult situation."
Nurmagomedov (28-0) was scheduled to face Tony Ferguson for the 155-pound title on April 18 at UFC 249, but he was forced to withdraw from the fight because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19. Justin Gaethje replaced Nurmagomedov and beat Ferguson to claim the interim lightweight title.
Nurmagomedov hasn't publicly commented on a possible fight date because of his father's battle with the virus. UFC president Dana White previously said he's targeting September as a potential date for a unification bout between Nurmagomedov and Gaethje.