As the UFC moves forward with plans to restart its schedule on May 9 in Florida, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is urging everyone to stay at home and potentially help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Nurmagomedov was supposed to headline UFC 249 opposite Tony Ferguson on April 18. Following the coronavirus outbreak, governmental restrictions put in place around the globe forced him home to Russia and UFC President Dana White to cancel the April 18 date.

White has doggedly pursued a return to action and a revamped UFC 249 fight card, topped by Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title, is slated for May 9. Following that event, the UFC is expected to operate events on May 13, May 16, and May 23, with a goal of returning to its regularly scheduled dates by June, although events won’t likely take place around the globe as they were initially slated.

As the pandemic keeps the sports world in particular tight in its clutches, the UFC will operate events without audiences in attendance.

Nurmagomedov, still at home in Russia and now observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, is at the same time urging all who know him to remain at home to try and impede the spread of the virus.

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“In this holy month I would like to appeal to all Dagestanis and to all who know me. Many hoped that trouble would go around our house; many still do not believe in the seriousness of the situation. However, our negligence to the advice and requests of doctors, coupled with the panic created by the people, led to a high rate of spread of the disease, exacerbating the already difficult situation every day, and this led to the fact that our hospitals are now overcrowded with patients, there are no specialists and drugs enough, and the number of patients is only growing. Believe me. The disease is deadly and we already feel it on ourselves. Staying at home, we can reduce the burden on doctors and hospitals, and perhaps our cautiousness in a timely manner will save lives. Take care of loved ones, do not let them out of the house unnecessarily,” Nurmagomedov wrote on Instagram.

“May Allah protect us all from all diseases and cure all the sick and close all over the world.”

Nurmagomedov is expected to unify his championship with interim belt winner at UFC 249, although that isn’t likely to take place until sometime in September or October.

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