With the next three UFC events postponed due to coronavirus, Dana White and Co. are doing everything they possibly can to relocate UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson in time for April 18.
The fight has been cancelled four times in the past, but White assured the media that UFC 249 will take place no matter what.
If Khabib vs. Ferguson does happen it will likely take place outside of the United States, and Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, believes he knows the perfect location.
Speaking to RBC Sports in a recent interview (h/t MMA Fighting), Abdulmanap said he is confident the fight will go ahead and believes Dubai, or possibly Abu Dhabi, will make for the perfect hosts. According to Wikipedia there are 11 known cases of COVID-19 in Dubai and just 8 in Abu Dhabi. There are no recorded deaths in either country.
“Most likely it will be Dubai,” Abdulmanap said. “Firstly, it’s easier to fight diseases because of the heat. And I think the Emirates will pay for the UFC fight faster and easier.
“Abu Dhabi may well be, but then, [that’s up to] Dana White. I can’t approve, but there are more chances there.”
Abdulmanap added that Khabib feels great and is not concerned about coronavirus amidst all the panic.
“Khabib feels great, everything is going according to plan,” he said. “He is not afraid of the coronavirus, we are all mortals. What about empty stands? I think that the audience is good, but without them it is even better.”
UFC 249, which still lists Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as the official venue despite New York banning all large public gatherings statewide, is scheduled to take place on April 18.