Despite Dana White’s best, and controversial, efforts it seems highly unlikely that UFC 249: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson will go ahead as planned (if at all).
The UFC President has been indignant while swearing that Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson, a fight that has fallen through four times already, would go ahead on April 18th despite the worldwide shutdown prompted by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 measures recently took place in Russia, resulting in no more outbound air traffic from that country. Nurmagomedov is currently in Russia. Speaking with RT the UFC champion seemed resigned to the fact that he would not be leaving the country anytime soon and that his fight with Ferguson would not be happening in April.
In that interview Nurmagomedov also hinted that the UFC would instead move to make a fight between Ferguson and a fighter already in the US.
Now, Ariel Helwani of ESPN MMA is reporting, via a tweet, that Justin Gaethje has been offered to Ferguson as a replacement opponent.
“...Tony Ferguson, per sources, has been offered a fight against top contender Justin Gaethje, however, that fight has not been agreed upon nor finalized. Neither has a location for the event,” wrote Helwani.
As a result, Tony Ferguson, per sources, has been offered a fight against top contender Justin Gaethje, however, that fight has not been agreed upon nor finalized. Neither has a location for the event.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 30, 2020
Even if this match-up is signed off on by both parties, it remains to be seen whether the UFC will be capable of forging ahead with an MMA event on US soil, despite wide spread public safety concerns and lockdown/social-gathering rules in effect.