As Russia has locked down international travel over the past few days, it seemed as though their flight restrictions had likely taken away the UFC 249 main event along the way. Khabib Nurmagomedov had apparently traveled to the UAE to prepare for the likelihood that his bout against Tony Ferguson would be moved from Brooklyn, NY to Abu Dhabi. Only to get turned away at the border and end up in Russia, with no clear way to get out of the country.
But, there may still be one option as yet unexplored. At least according to a report from Russian news site Sport Express. The site apparently spoke to the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency, who say that the UFC lightweight champion could potentially charter a private jet to get him to UFC 249, wherever the event ends up being held. The only catch? He might not be able to get back home anytime soon (translation via RT News).
“For Khabib to be allowed to fly to the US on a private jet, the flight company whose services he intends to use, should obtain a permit for flying out of Russia and for arrival in the USA,” a representative of the agency told Sports Express.
“The companies which provide private air travel usually know which documents the passenger needs to have so that they will be granted entry on arrival at the border.”
“There are currently no restrictions on business aviation from Russia. Upon the availability of approval, the aircraft will be able to fly to the US.
”But there are restrictions on arrival which were confirmed on Monday at the meeting of the Russian government’s Operational headquarters for the prevention of the spread of a new coronavirus infection. Consequently, Khabib could have separate problems with re-entering.”
However, if that’s providing an avenue of hope for fans that they’ll actually get to see Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson on April 18th, Khabib’s latest instagram post seems to pour cold water on the idea. In it the Dagestani champ sounds defiant about the idea that he should be expected to fight while world leaders everywhere urge everyone toward self-quarantine and caution. It could be, whether there’s an option to get out of Russia and to UFC 249 or not, at this point he may quite rightly not feel it’s worth the risk.