Former UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov spoke out against the proliferation of betting company sponsorships in sports. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
“Worse than alcoholism”
Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov says that he will not consider partnering with sportsbooks at any time.
We don’t need bookmakers.”
“We have plenty of good sponsors that we work with and put on events with,” said Nurmagomedov. “We don’t need bookmakers.”
“The Eagle” delivered his verdict after being asked why his Eagle Fighting Championship (Eagle FC), a Russian promotion company, did not work with bookmakers. Khabib concluded that working with gaming operators would be worse than promoting alcoholism.
Khabib Nurmagomedov and his beliefs
Throughout his career, Nurmagomedov was renowned for maintaining a very disciplined regiment. He is also a practicing Sunni Muslim, and according to the Quran, Muslims are forbidden to gamble.
Once the most feared man in the octagon, Nurmagomedov believes that bookmakers have the potential to destroy lives.
“Bookmakers ruin entire families,” said Nurmagomedov. “How many young guys go on their sites, stay on them, and become addicted?”
Whole families get ruined because of it.”
“Whole families get ruined because of it. You know well how strong of an addiction gambling is. It’s the same as a drug addiction. It would be the same if I were to advertise drugs here. Gambling and drug addiction are on the same level for me.”
The recently retired champion also noted that Eagle FC will continue to be very selective with its partners and focus.
“We pay attention to the type of product we give our audience,” he said. “The only thing we promote is sport.”
“I don’t want the people that watch us to see alcohol or bookmakers ads. It’s very important to me. I don’t want people to discover a bookmaker from watching Eagle FC, then go on their site and develop an addiction.”
Sentiments from other fighters
Nurmagomedov’s recent speech echoes that of Tyson Fury, a two-time world heavyweight champion in boxing, who said in February that he would not support partnerships or advertising within the gambling industry.
Fury himself has a long history with mental struggles, including depression and alcoholism, and has been outspoken on the effects of addiction, even since he retired from the sport in April.
Fury himself also partnered with B2B gambling supplier SBTech as a brand ambassador
Fury’s father John, however, was made a brand ambassador by freebets.com in March. Fury himself also partnered with B2B gambling supplier SBTech as a brand ambassador at ICE London three year prior to his comments.
Nurmagomedov has not appeared in the ring since he fought Justin Gaethje on October 24, 2020. His— and the UFC’s— most-watched fight was a 2018 bout against the prolific Conor McGregor, which ended in a fourth-round submission for the Russian. He has a career record of 29-0-0.
Nurmagomedov also has two cousins, Abubakar and Umar, who are still active in the UFC.