Khabib Nurmagomedov is speaking out in support of former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
A longtime teammate of Velasquez at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., Nurmagomedov told TMZ that he stands by Velasquez, who is currently in prison and awaiting trial after being arrested and charged for attempted murder. Velasquez was arrested on Feb. 28 after allegedly engaging in a high speed chase and firing multiple rounds of a handgun into a vehicle carrying Harry Goularte, a man charged with molesting a close family member of Velasquez. Goularte’s father-in-law was struck twice by gunfire during the alleged incident.
Nurmagomedov sounded fuzzy on the details, but insisted that he would like to visit his friend in prison and show his support.
“Who knows about Cain?” Nurmagomedov said. “Yesterday I was talking to [American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez], I [asked] him if there’s any chance, if it’s possible to go see him in jail. Because in Russia we can go and see anybody. I asked because I don’t know the law here in the U.S.
“I ask him, ‘I really want to go to see him. After a couple of days I’m gonna be in San Jose.’ I want to go to see him, shake his hand, give him good energy. Anybody in the world who respects himself, who loves his family, is going to do the same thing, exactly.”
MMA Fighting’s Steven Marrocco recently spoke to legal experts regarding Velasquez’s case and they painted a grim picture for Velasquez, with veteran defense attorney Steve Cooley stating that the case was “not complicated” and that Velasquez “threw his life away.”
When the news first broke, many members of the MMA community showed support for Velasquez and have continued to do so, Nurmagomedov chief among them.
“Come on, nobody is going to think about the law when you have something about family,” Nurmagomedov told TMZ. “You have to protect your family. If animals protect their family, of course humans are gonna protect their family. You talk about law, code, they hold him in jail, I don’t understand these things. It always has to be fair. This is not fair. They sit in jail and [Goularte] he’s outside. Worry about other guy. OK, put this guy in jail too. He is more dangerous for people than Cain Velasquez.
“Never in his life, [Velasquez is] 40 years old, never in his life we have problem socially, outside people, in the gym, he’s the most respectful guy I’ve ever seen in my life. I was training with him more than 10 years. I know his family, everybody loves Cain. What happens, he act like anybody’s gonna act. This is his kids, you know? … Cain dangerous only for one minute, but this guy dangerous for anybody. He is outside, I don’t understand this.”
Velasquez was recently denied bail at a May 16 hearing. A formal plea hearing is scheduled to take place on June 10.