UFC president Dana White has been hard at work trying everything within his power to keep UFC 249 intact. His initial belief was that he’d even be able to keep the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson main event intact.
Amidst the regulatory hurdles and restrictions that continue to fly up, White is running out of time to stick with his intended April 18 date. But even if he is able to do so, the main event between Khabib and Ferguson has been nixed for the fifth time.
After returning to Russia, Nurmagomedov found himself basically locked down, as his country closed its borders. There was a glimmer of hope that he might be able to fly around the globe on a private business flight in order to keep the fight intact. He didn’t appear to see the sense in that when nearly everyone, including longtime rival Conor McGregor, has been urging everyone to remain where they are to decrease the risk of continuing to spread the covid-19 virus that has the world under a pandemic crisis.
Nurmagomedov has received praise and criticism for his decision to honor the restrictions, but has become frustrated by those that continue to say that he is begging his way out of the fight.
Even McGregor, who has been making public videos to implore his country and the world into a full-on lockdown, took the time to take a dig at Nurmagomedov, saying he chickened out of the fight with Ferguson.
In a video posted by ESPN MMA on Twitter, Nurmagomedov defended his position:
“My name is Khabib. I am not coronavirus. Dana is Dana. Tony Ferguson is Tony Ferguson. My name is Khabib, but number one thing that make me crazy when people say I pull out or I do something. I no understand this. I still training since December. I train very hard, 9 December. I come (to) U.S. because UFC give me location, New York Barclays Center. I come U.S. I train 40 days, then everything is go crazy. They say U.S.A. 100 percent no fight. Okay. We move to Abu Dhabi, Dubai. Why? Because they told me 99 percent it’s gonna be in Dubai. Like last my training camp, how I did, I come to U.S. I train with Coach Javier in AKA 55 days then we move to Abu Dhabi because fight was in Abu Dhabi. I understand, if Abu Dhabi, no problem. We did this before, we’re gonna do this one more time. We come. They close gate. But this is not my problem. I don’t make mistake. One more time, I wanna say I am Khabib, I’m not coronavirus.”
"I am Khabib. I am not coronavirus."
Nurmagomedov took to Instagram Live to lay out the details of his travel to Russia and express frustration with what he believes is misplaced blame about the status of his fight with Tony Ferguson. (via @TeamKhabib) pic.twitter.com/xRR5zxPLAE
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 2, 2020
(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)