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Morning Report: Khabib Nurmagomedov stranded in Russia, says the UFC is looking to continue UFC 249 ‘with or without me’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

For weeks, UFC President Dana White has insisted that UFC 249 and the lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson would proceed as planned. But now that’s looking less and less likely.

In a recent Instagram Live, the UFC lightweight champion revealed that he is currently stranded in Dagestan. Nurmagomedov had been training in the United States but flew home when the UFC told him the fight would not be taking place in the U.S.. Now, Khabib is back in Russia and unable to fly out due to a travel ban instituted by his home country.

“We were training in the AKA without any information regarding the fight, where and how is it going to happen,” Nurmagomedov said (courtesy of RT Sport). “Then the UFC told us that the fight 100% isn’t happening in the States. And they said that 99% that it will happen in Emirates, Abu Dhabi.

”After talking to the UFC we decided to fly over to the Emirates a month before the fight. I don’t remember the exact date, it was 19th or 20th, I’ll have to check. But when we landed in Emirates we learned that they are going to close borders. And no one will be able to leave or fly in, with exception for residents. So we had to fly back to Russia.

“Currently I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day. Although I don’t know what am I preparing for. Because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked. Same like in the States, same like in Europe, Emirates, everywhere. The whole world is in quarantine right now.”

The coronavirus pandemic has already forced the UFC to postpone three fight cards but Dana White has been trying to move mountains to make sure UFC 249 takes place. Now, there’s yet another mountain to move for White to pull this off. Or, according to Khabib, the show may just go on without him.

”So now I am hearing that they are looking to organize it with or without me. OK, go ahead,” Khabib said. “Everyone should follow the laws. I am not against it, I know that fighters need to feed their families and pay their bills. I know how hard it is for the fighter. Unless they fight they aren’t getting any money.

“I am even hearing that they are looking for an opponent for Tony, because he is in the States and I am here in Russia. But I am here not on my own will. The UFC told me that this fight 100% isn’t happening in the USA, and even if it’s not happening in the Emirates it will happen on this side of Atlantic. We discussed everything with the UFC. By that time I already spent 5 weeks of hard training in the AKA.

“Now I don’t really know what’s going on. It’s really hard to train and cut your weight when the whole world is locked down and you don’t know what you are preparing for. But it’s not the first time I face obstacles in my career.”

If this does signal the death knell for the lightweight championship bout at UFC 249, it would mark the fifth time a fight between Khabib and Tony has fallen through. But Ferguson is clearly hoping that won’t be the case. The former interim lightweight champion responded to Khabib being in Russia via Twitter.

We’ll see if Dana can pull a rabbit out of his hat on this one.


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It’s time to just accept it: God does not want us to have Khabib vs. Tony.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



So who does Tony fight at UFC 249 now?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    (276 votes)
  • 19%
    (383 votes)
  • 12%
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  • 1%
    (25 votes)
  • 1%
    Someone else
    (36 votes)
  • 51%
    He doesn’t
    (1029 votes)
2001 votes total Vote Now

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