UFC 249: Khabib Nurmagomedov Offers Update, NY Nixes Event
The original plans for UFC 249 are now off the table, but the UFC has promised to hold Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson.
UFC 249: Khabib Nurmagomedov Offers Update
UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov believes he will soon know where his upcoming title defense will take place.
Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson were scheduled to main event UFC 249 next month, but that is now officially scrapped after the New York State Athletic Commission canceled the event.
UFC president Dana White, though, has vowed to finally put the two together inside the Octagon – regardless of where it has to take place.
All of this is due to the panic of spreading the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
“We need maximum 100 people inside the arena. Put camera on and give Pay-Per-View. People in quarantine can sit home and have fun”
Khabib really wants this Tony Ferguson fight. pic.twitter.com/FEQoNDwvGS
— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) March 17, 2020
Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, confirmed during a recent Instagram chat that in the “next couple of days” White would be sending them a location for the event.
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The UFC has tried numerous times before to book Nurmagomedov and Ferguson, only for the bout to fall apart at the last minute.
“This is a very important fight, because the lightweight division has to move,” Nurmagomedov said (thanks to MMA Fighting for the quotes). “Right now, you have a couple guys who have (six, seven-fight) win streaks. A lot of contenders are coming. I don’t want to hold the lightweight division. We have to fight Tony Ferguson and know who’s the next contender. This is very important, not just for me, (but) the UFC lightweight division. That’s why I really want to fight with him.”
“That fight will happen. It will go on. The fans are all freaking out about that, do not worry. Khabib vs. Tony will happen.” pic.twitter.com/z4c6iF7MOJ
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 15, 2020
In regards to the bout taking place, Nurmagomedov said “we need maximum 100 people inside the arena.”
“Close the arena, 100 healthy people come inside and make the show,” he said. “Put the camera on pay-per-view, and everybody can fight. People who are quarantined and (are sitting) home, they’ll have fun and watch fights.”
NY Nixes Event
As for the original plans for UFC 249 inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the New York State Athletic Commission axed that on Wednesday.
“Out of an abundance of caution and in line with recent guidance issued by the Center for Disease Control and New York State, the New York State Athletic Commission informed the UFC that UFC 249 cannot be held in NY.,” the commission confirmed in a statement sent to MMA Fighting following an initial report from the New York Times.