Former 2-division UFC champion Conor “Notorious” McGregor has weighed in on the situation regarding Khabib Nurmagomedov choosing to not fight at UFC 249.
Undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov was scheduled to defend his title against Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson at UFC 249 on April 18. The event was initially booked for Brooklyn, New York, but the UFC were forced to abandon that plan after a ban on all “large gatherings” was imposed in the state of New York.
UFC president Dana White assured the fans that this event would still go ahead on April 18, with a new location being announced soon.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov recently suggested that UFC 249 might be relocated to Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately, the event was put in jeopardy once again after Khabib Nurmagomedov announced that he may not be able to travel anywhere for it after Russia imposed new travel restrictions in the country.
Things seemed bleak with fans expecting the highly anticipated fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson to once again get cancelled. There was a brief moment of hope after Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency announced that the champion could be eligible to leave the country in a private plane as “no restrictions for business aviation on departure from Russia”.
That hope was seemingly crushed after Nurmagomedov posted a statement on his Instagram, suggesting that he will not be fighting amid the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus:
“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.” Khabib Nurmagomedov wrote.
With this apartment announcement on the cancellation of his fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, his former opponent Conor McGregor had the following to say:
“I am in shape to fight right now! At the beginning of all this, I said to myself – I’m happy I don’t have an official fight booked. If I did, I would have consumed all the incorrect data to support me taking part in the bout, and I would have followed through, competed. And won.”
“The fact of this matter is, both Tony and Khabib where engaged in a game of chicken here towards the fight bell. With Khabib chickening out first. Making it 3-2 in pullouts in Tony’s favour. Khab scurried out of the U.S to home, and amid the crisis. Very high risk.
Conor McGregor is referring to the fact that Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson have been booked to fight each other 4 times in the past. The fight has fallen through each time, with both men pulling out twice due to injuries and other health complications.
McGregor faced Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October of 2018 in a fight that would become the most highly bought Pay-Per-View (PPV) event in the promotions history. The Irishman lost the fight via submission (neck crank) in the 4th round.
His coach, John Kavanagh recently suggested that McGregor might step in for a short-notice fight and take on Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.
Conor McGregor last competed inside the Octagon at UFC 246 in January of this year. He faced Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a welterweight bout, which seen him finish his American foe via TKO (head kick and punches) in just 40-seconds of the very 1st-round.
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 2nd April, 2020.