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.”
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Max Holloway is the motherf*cking man and I’ll hear no argument against it.
Woodley, Edwards, and Burns.
This fight going to happen after we get back to normal programming don’t try run now kid, fuck Covington the weasel pic.twitter.com/3nylGOjHTU
— Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) March 16, 2020
Man ♂️ Shame on this former champ he said He is on killer mode! No you’re not you don’t want no smoke! I will see u soon @TWooodley thanks @danawhite @seanshelby and my manager @AliAbdelaziz00 to try to make this fight! I’m always available to fight but this guys talk to much ♂️
— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) March 16, 2020
I’m sorry to hear of the recent postponement of the next three UFC events, including my fight on March 28. I look forward to working with the @ufc and @danawhite on a replacement date and location. Until then, everyone stay safe as best they can. Hope to see you soon. pic.twitter.com/LAIurybFBI
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) March 17, 2020
Tony training in isolation.
Pretty sure I had COVID-19 (maybe not don’t @ me) in late December/Early January one month before my fight before it was barley known or talked about. I got really sick for about 2 weeks flu/fever and then I got staph almost had to pull from my fight no joke. Stay clean
— Dan “50k” Ige (@Dynamitedan808) March 16, 2020
LOOKS LIKE MY TRIP IS COMING TO AN EARLY END. UFC IS TRYING TO GET ME BACK HOME BEFORE THE TRAVEL BAN IS IN EFFECT
— Randa Markos (@randamma) March 16, 2020
A fight can happen with 10 ppl in the room. It’s one of the few sports that can do this at the professional level. I’m with @danawhite on this all day. Let us get paid and entertain you.
— Justin Gaethje (@Justin_Gaethje) March 17, 2020
Don’t get greedy @danawhite we don’t need an undercard, we just want Ferg vs Khabib with a red. Problem solved
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) March 17, 2020
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.
lot of people with the “I told you so” comments happy the ufc shows got canceled but what you don’t realize is that the fighters can’t get paid and other than fighting most guys work as trainers in gyms (also closed) so best believe if I get a call to fight on an island I will
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) March 16, 2020
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.
Does UFC 249 get postponed?
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