Umar Nurmagomedov, the cousin of Khabib Nurmagomedov, has been ruled out of his UFC debut at Saturday’s UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi because of illness.
The Russian bantamweight, who had been training alongside the lightweight champion in Dubai since last month, was set to take on fellow debutant Sergei Morozov at Flash Forum, in the event that concludes “Return to Fight Island”.
Russian news agency TASS reported on Sunday that Umar Nurmagomedov had been taken to hospital in Dubai with "severe flu, fever and vomiting", but Khabib Nurmagomedov confirmed later on Instagram that his cousin had in fact a staph infection.
In a post in his native Russian, Khabib Nurmagomedov said (via translation): “The last few days, Umar has been in a hotel with a high fever, which was caused by a staphylococcal infection. But despite this, he and our entire team were determined that he would perform on October 24.
"This morning, before our flight to Abu Dhabi, he got worse and was hospitalised in Dubai. Get well brother, so it was meant to be.”
Umar Nurmagomedov has twice previously had to postpone his UFC bow, once at UFC 249 in April because of restrictions put in place by the pandemic, and then again in July following the death of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, his uncle and coach.
Khabib Nurmagomedov headlines UFC 254 in his lightweight unification bout with interim champion Justin Gaethje.
The Dagestan native, unbeaten in all 28 professional fights, has not fought since September last year, when he defeated Dustin Poirier, also in Abu Dhabi.