Dana White has been so adamant about pushing through with UFC 249, but it seems like the main event bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will be falling apart for the fifth time.
A cross-border travel ban has already been put in place in Russia due to the coronavirus. There’s been some speculation about his current location, but Khabib has now revealed that he is indeed in Russia at the moment, specifically in his home of Dagestan.
With the UFC lightweight champion currently on lockdown, it would make it extremely unlikely for him to compete at UFC 249 on April 18th. Khabib opened up on all the uncertainty he has been facing on a recent Instagram live session.
According to the undefeated champion, he left the US and flew to the UAE thinking that’s where UFC 249 will happen, only for the nation to also close their borders.
“We were training in the AKA without any information regarding the fight, where and how is it going to happen,” Khabib said, according to a translation from RT Sport. “Then the UFC told us that the fight 100% isn’t happening in the States. And they said that 99% that it will happen in 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 19th or 20th, I’ll have to check. But when we landed in Emirates we learned that they are going to close borders. And no one will be able to leave or fly in, with exception for 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.”
White has claimed to have ‘four to five locations’ in mind for UFC 249, but there seems to have been a breakdown in communication between Khabib and the promotion. The lightweight champ says he’s still training even if he’s unlikely to be fighting on the card, but he also revealed what he was hearing about the UFC’s plans moving forward.
According to Khabib, instead of postponing the entire show, the UFC (unsurprisingly) wants to continue without his involvement.
“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% isn’t happening in the USA, and even if it’s not happening in the Emirates it will happen on this side of Atlantic. We discussed everything with the UFC. By that time I already spent 5 weeks of hard training in the AKA.
”Now I don’t really know what’s going on. It’s really hard to train and cut your weight when the whole world is locked down and you don’t know what you are preparing for. But it’s not the first time I face obstacles in my career.”
Khabib vs Ferguson has been booked five times already, and it looks like it’s still not going to happen.