UFC 249: Abu Dhabi And Saudi Arabia Ruled Out As Khabib Confirms He Won’t Fight

31 March 2020
UFC, Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson, Dana White, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Middle East, MMA, Coronavirus, Covid-19

The UFC almost came to the Middle East (again)

Well, there it is. The Khabib-Ferguson UFC fight is all but off as the UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov finds himself stuck in Russia. The coronavirus has finally beaten the UFC’s biggest stars

Read More: The coronavirus in the UAE: What is open?

After being cancelled four-times previously, UFC president Dana White was determined that this fight, the headline of the UFC 249 card, would go ahead.

Speaking earlier in the month he said he would do everything he could to make it happen, looking for a new location (it was originally scheduled to be held at New York’s Barclays centre) and a behind-closed-doors fight.

White had even sounded out the possibility of hosting the fight in Saudi Arabia or Abu Dhabi. It was there that Nurmagomedov beat Dustin Poirier in September 2019.

However, the reigning champion, is now stuck in Russia after flights were grounded and a travel ban imposed.

This is the fifth time this fight has been called off.

In a statement last night Khabib said

“The UFC told us that the combat 100 per cent isn’t happening in the States. And they claimed that 99 % that it will happen in Emirates – Abu Dhabi.”

Ferguson meanwhile, suggested that Khabib was ‘hiding in Russia’. So far, so typical UFC trash talk. But now it looks as if the fight will go ahead without Nurmagomedov.

Read More: Khabib-Ferguson will go ahead says Dana White

On Instagram live last night Nurmagomedov said:

“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.”

“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.”

The question now is, who will want to step into a ring with Tony Ferguson on two-week’s notice? Has anyone called Conor McGregor