Back in June 2018, Azerbaijani rap duo Alexander Aliev and Navai Bakirov — known by their aliases HammAli & Navai — held a rare rap concert in Dagestan. The event, which took place in the republic’s capital, Makhachkala, caused UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to express his discontent with the way Dagestani youth behave.
The fighter posted a video of the event on his Instagram account, which showed a large crowd of young men dancing and singing along with the rappers. Beneath it lay the caption: “Modern Dagestan. Is this what was bequeathed to us by righteous predecessors?”
Islam Makhachev, a fellow UFC lightweight, also appeared in Nurmagomedov’s comment section for the video, where he wrote “fuel for hell.” (h/t lenta.ru)
A native of Dagestan, Nurmagomedov is known for his piety and religiosity, as he regularly posts Quranic scripture on his social media accounts. He also opts not to compete during the holy month of Ramadan. Given his traditional views, it came as no surprise that Nurmagomedov was outraged by the hip-hop concert.
However, Nurmagomedov’s post was met with backlash from the local community. Such comments included “Making homeless people do push ups for money, is this what was bequeathed to us by righteous predecessors?” (h/t vmma.ru) This forced the UFC champ to release a statement explaining his concerns.
“If I make a statement in my posts, it does not mean that I am such a fine fellow and all of you who read my post are sinners, etc.THIS IS NOT SO. First of all I remind myself of this and only then my subscribers, because I need a reminder. We are all sinners, some less, and some more. There are no ideal people.
“But we all have to admit that Dagestan needs a reminder, and if athletes like me silently observe what is happening in our Republic, then what will we come to? Just look at the past few months and how many children we lost in Makhachkala. I’m not talking about other problems. Politics do not interest me and I’m not a [State Duma] deputy. This is not a political post.
“I, as a Dagestani, worry about my republic and what happens in it.”