icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
16 Aug, 2019 20:19

Why does this American MMA fighter wear Khabib’s famous papakha hat?

Why does this American MMA fighter wear Khabib’s famous papakha hat?

The traditional woolly headgear of the North Caucasus, the papakha, made famous by UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomdeov, has made its way to American soil once again, although this time it was an American wearing it.

Worn by the people of the Caucasus for centuries, the donning of the papakha has signified an intent to go to war, or at least of always being prepared for it. It has been an integral part of Nurmagomedov's UFC career, and became his signature feature.

Also on rt.com ‘Number 1 bulls**t’: 10 iconic phrases of Khabib Nurmagomedov

As Khabib's fame rose enormously in recent years, MMA fans no longer confuse it with a wig, and often show up at Khabib's public appearances wearing it, as a sign of support for their hero.

On Thursday, a papahka was also spotted in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at the weigh-ins of an American MMA promotion called Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC).


Khabib, who's currently training in AKA gym in California ahead of his title defense, was nowhere near New Jersey.

The fighter wearing the headgear was US native Paul Capaldo, who is taking his first steps on the professional MMA scene and who was about to step into the cage for the third time to further his record to 3-0. 


Fans and fighters alike at the ceremony may well have questioned Capaldo's connection with the Russian champ, or his possible links to Dagestan.

The answer is very simple: the 22-year-old fighter trains in Jersey-based gyms, which have become US home gyms to a number of Dagestan athletes, such as Zabit Magomedsharipov, Said Nurmagomedov and Timur Valiev, who most recently invited the young prospect to train in Dagestan.

"I came (to Dagetsan) because, I felt like I was getting too comfortable in Jersey," Capaldo told RT Sport when taking part in the special documentary 'Dagestan: Land of Warriors.' 

"It’s a different environment, it’s a different setting to get me in the mindset to get ready for my fight. These guys work hard and that’s what really taught me," he said.

To find out more about Capaldo's experience in the 'Land of Warriors,' watch RT Sport's special documentary.