Khabib Nurmagomedov Lights up His Critics Over UFC 249 Withdrawal

Khabib Nurmagomedov has been taking fire online now that it seems clear he won't be fighting at UFC 249, and the lightweight champ has been quick to respond.

Now that it seems all but certain that Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t be fighting Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, some people have been blaming the champ for what’s transpired. Well, not surprisingly, Nurmagomedov isn’t taking those criticisms laying down, as he’s been quick to respond.

Image Credit: UFC / YouTube

Khabib fires back at his critics

Recently it was reported that Nurmagomedov had headed back to Russia from the United States, in advance of a scheduled, April 18th bout with Ferguson. Although UFC 249 was already up in the air, in terms of whether the card could be held on account of the coronavirus, the fight was officially, still on.

But, more recently, it was announced that Russia has banned travel in and out to the country, due to the pandemic. As a result, Nurmagomedov released a statement, in which he seemed to acknowledge there’s likely no way he’s fighting Ferguson at UFC 249.

Well, since that happened, the champ’s been taking some heat for his decision to head back to Russia. On Thursday, Nurmagomedov did an Instagram Live session, in which he had some pointed questions for his detractors (quotes via MMA Fighting).

“We talk about where we going to fight,” Nurmagomedov said. “U.S., Europe, Emirates, Asia, whatever, but nobody knows location, but everybody wants I fly somewhere. UFC don’t show us location. Where we going to fight? This is what I’m talking about.

“I don’t understand this. The UFC tried to find a location last almost one month. They don’t find. What about me? This is my mistake?”

“We left San Jose, when we landed in Dubai, we land 8 p.m. at night, and they say 12 a.m. they closed gate,” Nurmagomedov explained. “We tried to go in but this is impossible. They say this is impossible. Then I said OK, whatever happens, we’re going to go to Dagestan and we’re going to keep training. After Dubai, we come to Dagestan, and we keep training.

“Right now, I finished my training. Everyday I’m training, and I’m waiting for location. But they don’t send it. All gates are closed. Russia gate closed. U.S. gate closed. Everywhere is closed. Everybody is sent home, quarantined. All government. Famous people. Even Dana [White]. Where is Dana? Everybody is at their house. Everybody stay home. Everybody in quarantine. All governments, all presidents, all famous people. Everybody talk about, ‘Please people stay home,’ because people die everyday. Thousands of people die, and No. 1 country right now [for coronavirus] is the U.S.”

“…So we move to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, why? Because they told me 99 percent it’s going to be in Dubai. Like my last training camp, I come to U.S., I train with coach Javier [Mendez] at AKA for 55 days, then we move to Abu Dhabi because fight was in Abu Dhabi. That’s why we moved to Abu Dhabi.

“I understand. If Abu Dhabi, no problem. We did this before, we’re going to do this one more time. Let’s go Abu Dhabi. We come, they close gate. This is not my problem. I don’t make mistake. One more time, I want to say I am Khabib, I am not coronavirus.”

Understandable response?

So, ya. Nurmagomedov’s response to his critics could have been even harsher. Even if the UFC never did say the card was likely headed to Dubai, you can understand why Nurmagomedov would want to get back to his family, before further travel bans were enacted.

It’s also worth noting that a few weeks ago, both Khabib’s father and his coach Javier Mendez also talked about how the United Arab Emirates was a possibility for UFC 249. Further, in Nurmagomedov, we’re talking about a fighter who has never lost, and who has agreed to fight Ferguson five times now. So, it seems pretty unlikely that all this was done to avoid fighting “El Cucuy”.

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