It seems that the puff of the biggest fight of the year has gotten the attention of the Russian president. Arguably the single biggest event in sports this year, (getting more attention than Tiger Woods comeback or Serena William‘s US Open, break down,) the Conor Mcgregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov fight has been everything and more.
The event was big – pre, during and post.
The pre-fight press conferences and face off broke UFC record for highest viewed press conference ever; the fight’s attendance broke highest attendance record in UFC history, and the anticipation for a rematch is something already estimated to rack in more money than the original fight, going by the amount of interest shown by sponsors, analysts and fans. And now it seems that even Vladimir Putin, president of the second most powerful nation in the world has gotten caught up in the hype.
Following the fight, Khabib announced during the post-fight press conference that the silver lining to the UFC retaining his title and earnings for his unprofessional conduct after the match was that he received a call from his president. He even managed to let out a smile (after a seemingly gloomy press conference), following the statement.
On Wednesday, the president kicked it up a notch, inviting Khabib and his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov to lunch. The three of them had a sit-down and the president started off by congratulating the champ on his win.
“I want to congratulate you with the win.” He said. “And I congratulate your father because he raised a good son.”
The highlight of the meeting was when Putin pleaded with Abdulmanap not to punish his son so severely.
“I know you weren’t there for the team or for the country, you performed personally for yourself. But at the end of the day, you are a Russian citizen and we care about it, and so we followed everything and we felt for you. Thank you. I will ask your father not to punish you too much.”
The Dagestan (Khabib’s hometown) Islam culture, encourages strict parental discipline, as a matter of fact, the famed Khabib still lives with his father as his culture permits. Following the fight Abdulmanap issued a statement, stating that he will punish his son much more than the UFC did. This is why Putin tried to plead on Khabib’s behalf for the father to go easy on him.
A little bit reminiscent of Nigerian culture.