Ali Abdel-Aziz is the manager for lightweight competitor Khabib Nurmagomedov, who pulled out of a UFC Interim Lightweight Title Fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 209.
Nurmagomedov’s manager says that the issues with him started early in the morning on the day of weigh-ins.
“Normally we’re supposed to get back at 6 o’clock in the morning and cut weight, but at 3:45 in the morning I went to the room — and my room was right next to his room, and he was in so much pain,” Abdel-Aziz said on The MMA Hour. “And after that I panicked. Because this is not just somebody I manage, this is my little brother. I have a different relationship with all the guys I manage, because if I can’t be your friend or we can’t be like brothers, we can’t work together.”
Michael Johnson tried to take Nurmagomedov’s spot at UFC 209, but the fight was promptly turned down by Ferguson. Abdel-Aziz admits that he made have made some mistakes when it came to the way he handled things with Nurmagomedov.
“I panicked, and the first thing I wanted to do, I wanted to help him,” he said. “I wanted to bring some care to him. I thought about calling 911, but I thought, listen, we can pick him up. When we picked him up, the whole group, he couldn’t even walk. We put him in my car and drove straight to the hospital. On the way to the hospital I tried to get a hold of the UFC. It was 4 o’clock in the morning by the time I got to the car. Normally, for the last eight or nine years that I’ve worked with the UFC, if anything happens you call two people — the matchmaker, and Dana White — and I did both. But of course at 4 o’clock in the morning, I didn’t know who to call.”
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