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Khabib Nurmagomedov releases statement on UFC 249 status: ‘I’m definitely upset more than you to cancel the fight’

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Khabib Nurmagomedov isn’t taking the blame for the UFC 249 main event being in jeopardy.

With his April 18 lightweight championship defense against rival Tony Ferguson nearly dead in the water following Nurmagomedov’s return to Russia and the precautions and travel restrictions tied to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Nurmagomedov took to Instagram himself to release a statement on the situation.

“Staying home in quarantine and reading the reaction of people to the situation around my fight, it turns out that the whole world should be in quarantine, 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?” Nurmagomedov wrote. “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.”

Nurmagomedov’s statement arrived hours after several Russian media outlets posted a statement from the country’s oversight body for civil aviation, the Federal Air Transport Agency, which made explicit the possibility of traveling overseas to the U.S. via private air carriers.

”For Khabib to be allowed to fly to the US on a private jet, the flight company whose services he intends to use, should obtain a permit for flying out of Russia and for arrival in the USA,” the Agency announced, Sport Express reported via state-owned news outlet RT.

“The companies which provide private air travel usually know which documents the passenger needs to have so that they will be granted entry on arrival at the border.”

The UFC lightweight champ on Saturday said he’s unable to leave Russia to fight Ferguson at UFC 249 because the borders are “locked,” placing in jeopardy a fight that had been canceled on four previous occasions due to injuries and other circumstances.

In a video statement on Instagram live, Nurmagomedov said he’d been training at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., but flew to Abu Dhabi when he was advised by the UFC that “the fight 100 percent isn’t happening in the States” and “that 99 percent that it will happen in (the United Arab) Emirates – Abu Dhabi.”

Nurmagomedov said he and his teammates flew back to Russia when he learned upon landing in Abu Dhabi that the country was going to close the borders “and no one will be able to leave or fly in with (the) exception of residents.”

“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,” he said.

As previously reported, the promotion subsequently shifted away from Nurmagomedov following news of his travel difficulties, extending an offer to Justin Gaethje to face ex-interim champ Ferguson, who is currently mulling over the offer to switch opponents.

UFC President Dana White has promised to make UFC 249 happen despite widespread shelter in place orders, the extension of government recommendations that limit gatherings of over 10 people, and major state athletic commissions canceling the regulation of combat sports events.

UFC 249 originally was scheduled to take place in Brooklyn, but now has to be relocated due to COVID-19 concerns. Several fighters have stepped forward to potentially create a new main event, including names like Jorge Masvidal and Dustin Poirier, and as of now, it looks as though Nurmagomedov will not be defending his title.

See Nurmagomedov’s full post below:

View this post on Instagram

Staying home in quarantine and reading the reaction of people to the situation around my fight, it turns out that the whole world should be in quarantine, 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. - Сижу дома на карантине и читаю реакцию людей на ситуацию вокруг моего боя, получается весь мир должен сидеть на карантине, правительства всех стран и известные люди всего мира призывают людей соблюдать требования безопасности, чтоб ограничить распространение болезни ради спасения людей, а Хабиб, освобождён от всех обязательств и должен демонстрировать свободу воли и тренироваться летая по всему миру рискуя своей жизнью ради боя ? - Я все понимаю и точно не меньше вас расстроен отменой боя, наверно у меня , как и у всех других, было много планов после боя, но я не в силах контролировать все это. Сверх державы и крупнейшие компании нашего времени в шоке от того, что происходит, каждый день ситуация меняется непредсказуемо. Но Хабиб все равно должен драться, так получается? - Берегите себя и поставьте себя на мое место.

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