Vandals in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk have disfigured a mural by Chabib Nurmagomedov dedicated to his recent victory over Justin Gaethje. After that, the undefeated UFC lightweight champion announced his retirement.
The mural was created by Ural street artist Timur Brazil after Khabib submitted American interim champion Gaethje in the second round of his competition at UFC 254 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi last month.
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Khabib was depicted on the mural in his papakha hat, and an eagle flew beside him to nod his battling nickname.
But on Monday pictures emerged showing that vandals had painted the fighter’s face black and added the caption “He’s not our hero” under the destroyed mural.
UFC Champion Khabib, who improved his flawless record to 29-0 by beating Gaethje, has been controversial in the last few weeks after his attack on French President Emmanuel Macron over religion and freedom of speech, leading the fighter to be won by some Russian celebrities and public figures were convicted.
Khabib had devastated Macron amid mounting tensions in France after the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
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Khabib – a devout Muslim from the Republic of Dagestan – shared his disgust for the French president on social media and accused him of offending Muslims by defending Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish the cartoons.
The mural in Chelyabinsk, a city about 1,500 km east of Moscow, is by no means the only one in the fighter’s homeland.
Another recent mural was painted in his hometown of Dagestan and shows Khabib and his future father and trainer Abdulmanap. The image is based on a design by the respected martial arts artist Boss Logic.
❤️ Father’s plan immortalized in Dagestan mural! Khabib and his late father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov were honored with street art in Derbent, Dagestan 🦅 pic.twitter.com/1i2RcyGGRh
– RT Sport (@RTSportNews) November 11, 2020