Khabib holds first annual MMA event in memory of his dad who died of Covid-19 as fighters battle it out in brutal bouts

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV held the inaugural MMA event in memory of his beloved dad who died of Covid-19.

The 31-year-old was left heartbroken in July after his father and mentor Abdulmanap passed away aged 57.

To commemorate his memory, the UFC lightweight champion announced he will host an MMA tournament in Russia every year.

Khabib told Match TV: “This tournament will be annual, we have already planned it.

“Only the date will change. So every year at the end of summer or at the beginning of fall we will have this event every year.

"Other than that, there were no problems with the organization.

"The fighters wanted to fight, and promoters also were also interested in making the event.

"Most likely due to the fact that many events have been canceled because of coronavirus pandemic.”

Khabib's opening event was held on Wednesday, September 9 at the Irina Viner-Usmanova Gymnastics Palace in Moscow.

Fight Nights Global (GFC) co-promoted the show which was headlined by Vladimir Mineev and Dauren Ermekov – who fought for the middleweight title.

Mineev would go on to win in round three.

Highly-touted Usman Nurmagomedov – tipped to one day surpass unbeaten Khabib by their manager – was also victorious on the night.

He beat Svyatoslav Shabanov by stoppage in a lightweight co-headliner.

Khabib was present at the fight night, as he prepares to fight for the first time without his dad.

The Dagestani hero faces Justin Gaethje, 31, in a unification bout on October 24 which tops a stacked UFC 254 pay-per-view card.

Speaking to local media for the first time since Abdulmanap's death, Khabib admitted last month his training had been affected by the devastating news.

He said: “You know, I’m sure everyone in this room lost someone.

"A friend, a neighbour, a cousin, a mother, a father, girlfriend. Everyone goes through loss, I understand that.

"But on the other hand it’s very difficult. Some people have strictly a father-son relationship, but my father was very close to me.

"We were like friends. He was my father and coach, we were always together. We were very close.

“Of course I’m sad. If I tell you with a straight face that it doesn’t affect my training, that’d be a lie. It does affect me, I think about him all the time."

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