An indefinite suspension imposed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission may keep Khabib Nurmagomedov’s mixed martial arts career sidelined for a while, but being restricted from circling the Octagon isn’t keeping him from trotting the globe. The Russian brawler’s most recent excursion has him in Nigeria, where he is using his newfound notoriety and resources to help the nation’s humble people on a charity mission.
Reuters reports that Khabib headed over to the African continent so that he can help build wells in hopes that it will jumpstart future initiatives to enhance the proper infrastructure needed for clean running water. In a photograph from the trip that was taken by MMA journalist Ariel Helwani, Khabib can be seen posing with a large group of local children. Judging by the wording in the post, it appears that Helwani was instrumental in coordinating the effort. He closed his caption out by noting that he’s already got a mission to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro lined up for next year. That particular endeavor will be done in collaboration with NFL star Chris Long, via his Waterboys organization.
Khabib seems to have kept his solidarity with Helwani and contributions to Nigeria low key. Sans for a picture that he would put up on Instagram on Monday evening, November 12, he didn’t make any mention of it on any of his social media pages. The image Khabib did eventually share is similar to Halwani’s in that it shows him with a few boys, only, in the later picture they are enjoying a meal beside one another.
“With my small brothers in Nigeria,” he wrote before ending the flick’s caption with the hashtag, #AfricanTime.
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I'm beyond impressed with @khabib_nurmagomedov for making it his top priority to go to Nigeria to build wells for water. Anyone can say they want the world to be better but it takes a special person to make that change start with them. If we want to turn things around in this world the only person we need to change is ourselves. Next year I will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with the @waterboysorg to raise money to build wells in Tanzania.
Khabib’s work on the ground may not have an immediate impact on the underdeveloped region, but he sets an example that can go a long way given others are inspired to follow in his footsteps. In their coverage of the endeavor, MMA Mania cites a few jarring statistics that reveal how much more of a way there is to go. According to Water Aid, there are more than 59 million people without clean water in Nigeria and 123 million who do not have adequate piping and construction for modern restrooms. The lack of nutrition and sanitary shortcomings that come as a result reportedly leads to the death of nearly 60,000 children per year on average.
Whether Khabib’s Nigeria trip was a one-and-done or just the beginning of a long-term commitment to alleviating poverty remains to be seen. If there were ever a time for him to flesh out some of his goodwill goals though, it would certainly be now that his career has been shelved for the foreseeable future.