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White: Ferguson ‘needs to handle his personal stuff,’ fighting wouldn’t be ‘in his best interest’

Tony Ferguson sounds like he wants to return to action ASAP, but the UFC president appears to have a few reservations about putting him back in the cage soon, in light of recent events.

UFC 229 Khabib v McGregor: Weigh-Ins Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Even amid the recent turmoil in his personal life, it’s clear that top ranked UFC lightweight Tony Ferguson is still firmly focused on his MMA career. The California based fighter recently made headlines with the news that he had been served a restraining order by his wife. That legal action came on the heels of what was reportedly a series of bizarre incidents – involving several calls to the police – over the last year.

The incidents, noted in police reports, involved Ferguson apparently arguing with family members, destroying objects, ranting about strange conspiracies, throwing holy water at his wife, and culminated with him taking his child from his wife’s parents home back to his house and changing the locks on the doors.

Despite all that, in a post on Instagram, Ferguson made it clear that his status in the lightweight division – as the UFC prepares to crown another interim champion – isn’t far from his mind.

In fact, when that title fight between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier was announced, Dana White recently revealed that Ferguson was quick to call him up and ask what the UFC’s plans were for him. White apparently expressed his interest in getting ‘El Cucuy’ a fight with Al Iaquinta. But more realistically, in the UFC president’s mind, it may be best to wait until Ferguson’s personal troubles are further behind him.

Current reports are, instead, that the UFC has verbal agreements in place for Iaquinta to face Donald Cerrone in the upcoming UFC Ottawa headliner.

“Tony had hit me up after the Max Holloway fight went to [Dustin] Poirier and was saying, ‘What’s next for me?’” White explained in a recent interview with Yahoo Sports (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I said, ‘Well, we can get you a fight with Al Iaquinta.’ Reached out to Al, Al was interested in the fight. But the reality is that right now Tony has a lot of personal problems that he needs to deal with. I don’t think that putting him in a fight right now would be in his best interest. He needs to handle his personal stuff first.”

In her declaration to the court in regards to Ferguson’s restraining order, his wife, Christina wrote that Ferguson’s behavior had been becoming “worse and more frightening.” And that she was afraid that Ferguson may “kill me, our son, and/or himself” during one of his “episodes.”

However, in a recent post on Instagram, Ferguson also mentioned that the “UFC & Management are helping me find the help we need.” And he is currently scheduled to meet with Orange County domestic violence prevention services on March 22 — with a court hearing on April 5th. After those dates, the timeline on Ferguson’s future will likely become a bit more clear.

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