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Dana White: Khabib Nurmagomedov’s team could have ‘saved’ fight with Tony Ferguson

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Dana White
Dana White said Khabib Nurmagomedov’s team “went rogue” Friday.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Dana White said it was 4 a.m. Las Vegas time when he first learned about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s illness. There was a major problem, though, according to White, who spoke Friday afternoon to Megan Olivi on the FS1 UFC 209 weigh-in show.

Nurmagomedov had already gone to the hospital — without telling anyone at the UFC.

Nurmagomedov’s team had not gone through proper channels, the boss said.

“Basically, his team had decided to take him to just some random hospital here in Las Vegas instead of picking up the phone and calling our doctor and calling Brianna [Mattison], who runs all the medicals,” White said. “They went rogue and went out and did their own thing. Had they done this thing the right way, the fight probably could have been saved.”

Nurmagomedov had issues with his weight cut and had to be hospitalized early Friday morning. His interim title fight with Tony Ferguson, which would have been the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 209 card, was called off hours later.

White said the Russian star got within six pounds and things went wrong.

“It’s never good,” White said. “If you’re doing it and things are going bad, it’s bad on your kidneys, it’s bad on your liver. It’s just bad all the way around. He’s doing better now. Obviously, he’s OK. He’s gonna be fine. But yeah. It’s never good.”

The UFC head man said during a press conference Friday that he would determine what to do next with Ferguson and Nurmagomedov following UFC 209.

Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdel-Aziz gave a statement to MMA Fighting earlier Friday, apologizing to Ferguson and his team.

“I feel bad for Tony and his camp, I really do,” Abdel-Aziz said. “The most important thing right now is Khabib's health. He's currently resting in his room. We're not thinking about what's next at this time. I want to sincerely apologize to Tony, his team, the UFC and the fans. We were all looking forward to this fight very much.”