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Meeting with Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov

October 10, 2018, Ulyanovsk

Vladimir Putin met with Russian fighter, UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The President congratulated the fighter on winning the UFC Championship. The athlete’s father also attended the meeting.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I would like to congratulate you on your victory. And I also want to congratulate your father on having such a great son and on raising such a good fighter.

The athlete’s father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov: He was not an easygoing child; it was hard dealing with him when he was a child, but then he grew.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: If he had been easygoing, he probably would not have become such a great fighter.

(Adressesing Khabib Nurmagomedov.) Let me congratulate you again and wish you success in the bouts to come.

There is a lot of talk, for sure. I saw the way they received you at home.

Of course, this was a commercial event, but it is still sport, and I must agree with those who believe that certain rules should be adhered to, and not just the written rules but the general rules of morality in sport. I hope everyone will follow these rules in this sport, as well.

Yes, you were not performing as part of a team, you performed as an individual, not even representing a country. You performed as an individual, but, you are a Russian citizen.

We are not indifferent to how our citizens are treated wherever they are and whatever they do. This is why we closely follow everything, and we were definitely very concerned about you.

And I will ask your dad not discipline you too severely because you achieved your main goal: you won the fight, and you did it with dignity and convincingly.

To conclude, I would like to express hope that the ideals of sport will prevail, will prevail over money, advertising (I am referring to your rival’s team, of course), and that inroads will ultimately be found to normal communication, friendship between competitors, sport friendships – these are the goals sport is dedicated to and promotes – and you will build up good and kind-natured relations with your rivals, relations of rivalry, yet good-natured, human ones.

Anyway, nobody can reproach you for not striving for this. I want to express hope that this will also be appreciated by your rivals, your adversaries, and that everything will be settled in a personal and athletic way.

I will finish as I started – I want to wish you success in the future.

Khabib Nurmagomedov: Thank you.

I also hope they will appreciate not only my jumping out of the ring but also my performance. So far, they are only talking about my jumping out of the ring even though my performance was not bad, and unlike his [Connor McGregor’s] coming in and showing disrespect for my side, my parents, my country, I behaved with dignity.

I did not hold back either, of course, because the provocations continued through the fight. I hope the hearing that is now underway will rule in our favour.

Vladimir Putin: What can I say in this regard? You and I understand that this was done on purpose – and I am sure your father also understands this – to make you lose control, to get some advantage during the fight.

I see us as one big family in our country. And we must avoid extremes; we must not allow this behaviour no matter what happens.

We have a very big and diverse family, and anything can happen in a family, but we never permit ourselves to go beyond certain limits. But, if we are attacked from the outside, then all of us, not just you, can respond in a way that will not be taken lightly.

I wish you success.

Khabib Nurmagomedov: Thank you.


October 10, 2018, Ulyanovsk