The exact terms of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s latest step away from the world of MMA are still a little bit hazy to his teammates and business partners. Even the president of Eagle FC is a little unsure of how completely absent from the sport Nurmagomedov will be moving forward.
Just as 2023 kicked off, news came out that Khabib was ‘leaving the MMA industry’ to focus on his family. Those were the words of Shamil Zavurov, Eagle FC president and Nurmagomedov’s cousin, given to Russian news outlet Tass.ru. That sounded pretty severe, but in a new interview Zavurov claimed the furor over the announcement was overblown.
“Well, as always, the media blows everything out of proportion,” he said in a new interview with Sambo Says. “Always this happens. I myself have been reading a lot of things. I have friends calling and asking if Khabib is leaving the industry entirely. What’s going on with Eagle FC? So many questions.”
“So understand me: I always knew that sooner or later things would come to this. Khabib simply gathered the guys and explained to them that in the past year he had not missed one competition. He traveled to every single competition. Well, we have a big team. Either Islam is getting ready, or Usman, or Umar, or Tagir, or Zubaira. The guys are always competing and training.”
“So he took a look at the situation, weighed it out, and realized that in the past year he was only home 2-3 months. All the other time he was traveling to competitions, matches, trainings. Everyone has their own fight camps. These aren’t one or two day trainings. Some take a month, two weeks, three weeks, you have to move around with them. So he thought about it, sat down, and decided that to not offend any of the guys he would tell them that they are all now real professionals and have achieved great results. The main goal was not to upset the guys.”
“If you go with one guy, you can’t go with another guy,” Zavurov continued. “He used to do all the training and competitions. So he very carefully explained to the guys that he has a family and that he needs to devote more time to them. I don’t think there was any major event. I don’t think anyone would have been able to maintain such a schedule. All the traveling, all the time, the flights.”
“So he explained to the guys that they all still had the team. Nothing has changed. We will still help and support each other as before. Just Khabib won’t be going everywhere. He’s going to be spending a bit more time with his family. That’s all it is. With that of course as you can imagine it was quickly blown out of proportion that he was leaving. Where would he go? He has his own MMA school. He’s opening his base in the mountains. His brothers, cousins, and nephews are all there. His cousins are competing. So to just leave?”
“Of course, like things were before, there won’t be a time like that again,” he added. “But to just leave, I don’t think is possible.”
On the subject of Eagle FC, Zavurov admitted it was reliant on Khabib’s participation and they had asked him to stay involved with the promotion to a certain degree for now.
“We will continue our efforts in moving forward Eagle FC,” he said. “We understand that if Khabib leaves, the organization will fall apart tomorrow. Eagle FC depends on Khabib. So Eagle FC will go on. We will push it forward. We have so many young guys who are competing. So we don’t want to just stop and leave this behind.”
“But if Eagle FC begins to take up a lot of his time, then of course the next day he’ll tell us ‘Hey guys, sorry but this isn’t what I told the team I’d be stepping aside for.’ So we’ll have to tread carefully in how much we ask of him. Free him up a little. Make sure not to overload him and for myself as president not to always call him over to every event.”
“But Eagle FC is a promotion,” he concluded. “It would be difficult without Khabib. Not even difficult … it would fall apart. So we asked him to stay with us for now.”
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