UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov revealed that he cannot compete in UFC 249. The planned April 18th fight that has been booked a staggering five times has been scrapped yet again.
Khabib went onto social media and said he’d decided to stay at home in quarantine and not fight. Khabib is in the Russian province of Dagestan and Russian President Vladimir Putin has grounded all flights.
According to reports, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency is allowing private flights between Russia and the United States. However, proper permission must be obtained.
“It turns out that the whole world should be in quarantine,” he wrote. “Governments of all countries, famous people around the world urge people to follow all safety requirements in order to limit the spread of the disease, to save people, and Khabib is the only one relieved of all obligations and must demonstrate free will and train flying around the world, for the sake of fight?
“I understand everything and I’m definitely upset more than you to cancel the fight, probably like all others, I had many plans after the fight, but I can’t control it all. The greatest countries and the largest companies of our time are shocked by what is happening, every day the situation changes unpredictably.
“But Khabib still has to fight, is that what you saying? – Take care of yourself and put yourself in my shoes.”
Still UFC president Dana White is working on making the fight happen. Rumors abound about a potential Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje main event. However, with no location announced, White is seemingly grasping at straws to make this happen.
In fact, on Wednesday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak released a stay-at-home order and extended his closure of the state’s casinos until April 30. The UFC is based in Las Vegas, so staging the event at home is out of the question for the promised April 18th date.
The UFC has looked into all sorts of precautions to make the event happen. From having cage side announcers call the fight from a remote location and severely limiting the number of people allowed into the fight venue.
Because of the highly contagious nature of the disease, it seems impossible that UFC 249 can be pulled it off safely by April 18th.