We are less than two weeks away from UFC 249, which Dana White has gone out of his way to preserve even in the middle of a rapidly worsening coronavirus pandemic.
While fans were hoping for Khabib Nurmagomedov to defend his lightweight title against Tony Ferguson on April 18th, the pandemic made Barclays Center in New York an impossibility, and it looks like Khabib can’t make the event because he’s locked down in Russia. We still don’t have a venue, we still don’t know who’s fighting on the card, but not to fear because Dana White says this event is still all systems go... just sans Khabib.
White responded to a fake Ariel Helwani account, which tricked any non-observant person into believing that Dana and Russian president Vladimir Putin worked out a deal to get Khabib to the United States to preserve the Ferguson bout. I swear that’s a real sentence I just typed on this super serious website, and here’s the real tweet from Dana in response.
Absolutely NOT true!!! The card is happening but @TeamKhabib is out. I will announce the entire card tomorrow.— Dana White (@danawhite) April 6, 2020
“Absolutely NOT true!!!” White said. “The card is happening but [Khabib Nurmagomedov] is out. I will announce the entire card tomorrow.”
Details are scarce on how the athletes will be tested for coronavirus (if at all), where they’ll be housed, what measures are in place to assure safety from this highly contagious disease, etc. White doesn’t want anyone in the media to know that.
If you’re into playing the sleuthing game, Ali Abdelaziz had this earlier cryptic tweet that may indicate that even if Khabib is out, UFC 249 won’t be cancelled. Given Justin Gaethje was an option to replace Khabib against Ferguson and Gaethje is also managed by Ali, this is just something to think about.
Is on now where all the haters— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) April 5, 2020
Check back on Monday for whatever re-arranged lineup we have for UFC 249.