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Morning Report: Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov suggests Dubai as possible alternative location for UFC 249

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UFC Fight Night 163 mixed martial arts event in Moscow Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

On Monday, the UFC finally tapped out to the coronavirus, announcing that the organization will indefinitely postpone its next three planned events amidst the global pandemic. But despite the fact that UFC London, UFC Columbus, and UFC Portland have all now been effectively cancelled, and that UFC 249 is set to take place only a week after UFC Portland was scheduled, Dana White is still not giving up on Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson; and neither is Khabib’s team.

After announcing the event cancellations yesterday, Dana White went on to say that UFC would do “whatever it takes” to ensure that UFC 249 takes place and it’s easy to understand why. Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been scheduled to face each other four times before, with each side being forced out of the fight on two of those occasions. At this point, a fight between the two is the only bout that makes sense and giving up on it a fifth time is a hard prospect to swallow. So along those lines, Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, has some ideas for how to save the event.

Speaking with RBC Sports in Russia, Abdulmanap suggested that the UFC may need to move UFC 249 to the United Arab Emirates to make it happen.

“Most likely it will be Dubai,” Abdulmanap said. “Firstly, it’s easier to fight diseases because of the heat. And I think the Emirates will pay for the UFC fight faster and easier.

“Abu Dhabi may well be, but then, [that’s up to] Dana White. I can’t approve, but there are more chances there,” he told RBC.

At this point if the event does move forward as planned, it’s almost certain it will have to be moved. Currently New York City has banned gatherings of over 500 people and, as the pandemic appears set to ramp up in the United States, UFC 249 taking place in Brooklyn seems increasingly unlikely. Whether or not the UAE is a possible destination though, remains to be seen. There are reportedly investors interested in possibly hosting the bout there, but in these turbulent times many nations are restricting travel to prevent the spread of the virus and how things would all shake out is very much up for debate.

What isn’t up for debate is Khabib’s intention to fight Ferguson. The UFC lightweight champion has continually insisted that this fight will take place on April 18 despite the surrounding circumstances and Abdulmanap echoed his son’s sentiments, saying that even if they have to fight in a closed gym, that’s fine with them.

“Khabib feels great, everything is going according to plan,” Abdulmanap said. “He is not afraid of the coronavirus, we are all mortals. What about empty stands? I think that the audience is good, but without them it is even better.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Good call. UFC indefinitely postpones next three events amidst coronavirus pandemic, Dana White vows ‘we will get through this’.

Bad call. Dana White promises ‘whatever it takesKhabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson will happen on April 18.

Everyone’s doing it. LFA postpones all shows through April due to coronavirus outbreak.

About that. . . Francis Ngannou explains why he’s ‘very happy’ the UFC is still moving forward with fights.

Clarify. Darren Till clarifies ‘fear’ of Yoel Romero, responds to Israel Adesanya calling him a ‘p*ssy’.


VIDEO STEW

MMA News Update.

UFC Connected.

Masvidal on dropping back down to lightweight.

Bisping talking about a fanless event.


LISTEN UP

The Co-Main Event. Discussing UFC Brasilia and the UFC’s stance on coronavirus.

Anik & Florian. Discussing UFC Brasilia and COVID-19.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Max Holloway is the motherf*cking man and I’ll hear no argument against it.

View this post on Instagram

I don't think there's a doc out there who would say COVID-19 is more dangerous than fighting for a living. I'm not afraid of it to be honest. It's like the flu but 10x more deadly. So what? I put myself in more danger every day. So for anybody else who feels that way I agree.⁣ ⁣ But I also learned it's not about me. I can carry it. I can have no symptoms like Donovan Mitchell. Then I can give it to my grandma and maybe she doesn't beat it. Then what? All my UFC title belts ain't gonna make me tough enough to deal with that responsibility.⁣ ⁣ Hawaii doesn't have that many hospital beds... If just a few hundred elderly need to be in ICU for treatment then what? What happens then when Sista Moki gets in a car accident and the ICU is already full? I don't know. Nobody does and we don't want to find out.⁣ ⁣ This isn't about most of us who could get it and beat it. It's about the people who won't beat it so we gotta make sure we do our part to protect them. Take the social distancing seriously. Pretend you already have it. Distance yourself to protect others AND yourself.⁣ ⁣ I know when the govt says "prepare but don't panic" that basically screams panic. I get it. But none of us need 48 rolls of toilet paper... So if you know someone who may need supplies, we need to help them and share. But also remember we could already have it and not know, so be VERY careful?⁣ ⁣ And if you see me in the store, smile, point to the ground if you one banga, but we don't need to take photos. Most people who go to the store in normal times probably only interact with one or two strangers. When I go anywhere I have hundreds of interactions, a lot of people come up to me. I'm a magnet for viruses. It's not good for your loved ones health for you to interact with me now. ⁣ ⁣ I promise when this is all over my team will do meet and greets so everyone who wants a photo or autograph can get one, so don't worry you will not be missing your chance. ⁣ ⁣ This isn't practice. This is a fight. You guys know me. I love to take fights into deep waters. This isn't one we want to take into deep waters. The quicker we can slow the spread the quicker we get back to normal

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Woodley, Edwards, and Burns.

Francis.

Tony training in isolation.

Coronavirus.

Man, maybe should’ve signed those Project Spearhead cards. Then you wouldn’t be in a position of having to pick your own well-being over the well-being of your entire community.

Ouch.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Darren Stewart (11-4) vs. Bartosz Fabinski (14-3); Cage Warriors 113, March 20.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Happy St. Patrick’s Day y’all. Normally I’d tell everyone not to go too hard but seems like there are bigger concerns out there than partying. Stay safe, thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

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