A former UFC star says gambling companies have no place anywhere near his upstart MMA promotion.
Khabib Nurmagomedov, of Dagestan, said in an interview that his Eagle FC, a newly formed MMA organization with events in the U.S. and elsewhere, will never do business with gambling companies.
According to Nurmagomedov, sports betting is too destructive.
“We have plenty of good sponsors that we work with and put on events,” Nurmagomedov said. “We don’t need bookmakers. I believe that gambling is more dangerous than alcohol. I think it’s worse to advertise gambling more than alcohol. Bookmakers ruin entire families. How many young guys go on their sites, stay on them, and become addicted?”
Nurmagomedov reportedly has never had alcohol in his life. He retired from the UFC with a perfect 29-0 professional MMA record, a feat virtually unheard in the sport.
“It’s the same as a drug addiction,” Nurmagomedov added. “It would be the same if I were to advertise drugs here. Gambling and drug addiction are on the same level for me. We pay attention to the type of product we give our audience. The only thing we promote is sport. It’s very important to me.”
The UFC, the global leader in MMA, has multiple gambling-related deals, including a partnership with DraftKings Sportsbook.
DraftKings and the UFC linked up in 2021.
“This is a massive deal that will benefit UFC, DraftKings, and most of all the fans,” UFC President Dana White said at the time. “DraftKings is the best at what they do in the betting and daily fantasy space, and unlike other sports, UFC has no off season. The action will be non-stop for fans of UFC and DraftKings. This is the most important deal we’ve ever done to increase engagement with our fans and reach new ones, and I’m looking forward to all the exciting things we’re going to do with DraftKings over the next few years.”
Safe to say Nurmagomedov disagrees. He retired from the UFC at just 33 years old.
Check out Nurmagomedov’s comments below.