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Khabib Nurmagomedov Explains Reason For UFC 249 Exit

In the eyes of reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov [1], his decision to remove himself from UFC 249 [2] is totally justified.

Nurmagomedov was scheduled to meet Tony Ferguson on April 18 at the event – which still does not have a location – to defend his title. The bout has been scrapped a handful of times, with the coronavirus being the latest.

“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 said in a statement. “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 previously said he was trying to remain available as the UFC worked to secure a location. He eventually returned to Russia, but the country has since closed its borders, leaving him stuck in the country.

However, the Federal Air Transport Agency released a statement to the Russian-owned RT [5] news outlet that clarified what would need to happen.

“For Khabib to be allowed to fly to the U.S. 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.”

Instead, it appears if the UFC plans to keep the event on schedule, they will book a replacement for Nurmagomedov to face Ferguson.