UFC 249 – Khabib Nurmagomedov Pulls Out, UFC Seeking Replacement
The much anticipated lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former interim champion Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 has now collided with a road block and looks set to be cancelled for the fifth time.
The UFC Champion went live on Instagram on Monday to explain his predicament and revealed he is presently stocked in his home town Dagestan due to the Russian national lockdown and will not be able to travel to UAE for the event.
He also revealed that due to the lockdown in Russia, the UFC are presently looking for alternatives for the main event and would possibly be going on without him.
“We were training at (American Kickboxing Academy) without any information regarding the fight – where and how is it going to happen,” he said (via RT Sport translation). “Then the UFC told us that the fight 100 percent isn’t happening in the States. And they said that 99 percent that it will happen in (the United Arab) Emirates – Abu Dhabi.
“After talking to the UFC, we decided to fly over to the Emirates a month before the fight. I don’t remember the exact date – it was (March) 19 or 20. I’ll have to check. But when we landed in Emirates, we learned that they are going to close (the) borders and no one will be able to leave or fly in with (the) exception of residents.
“So, we had to fly back to Russia. Currently, I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day, although I don’t know what am I preparing for, because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked. Same like in the States, same like in Europe, Emirates – everywhere. The whole world is in quarantine right now.”
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The Dagestani, Nurmagomedov has made cleared that due to the National Lockdown in Russia, he might not be able to fight in the event on the 18th of April due to movement restrictions, gathering restrictions and Border Lockdown across the world due to the Corona Virus pandemic.
The Russian also made clear the event could go on without him and conceded, overhearing a UFC official speak about looking for a replacement opponent for Tony Ferguson for the main event.
“So now I am hearing that they are looking to organize it with or without me. OK, go ahead,” he said. “Everyone should follow the laws. I am not against it. I know that fighters need to feed their families and pay their bills. I know how hard it is for the fighter. Unless they fight, they aren’t getting any money.
“I am even hearing that they are looking for an opponent for Tony, because he is in the States and I am here in Russia. But I am here not on my own will. The UFC told me that this fight 100 percent isn’t happening in the USA, and even if it’s not happening in the Emirates, it will happen on this side of (the) Atlantic. We discussed everything with the UFC. By that time, I already spent five weeks of hard training at AKA.
The UFC 249 event was originally scheduled to take place on April 18th at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn but due to the recent COVID 19 Corona Virus Pandemic currently ravaging the World, the event was moved and due to gathering restrictions in the US, the UFC has decided to make it behind closed doors.