Tony Ferguson Accuses Khabib Nurmagomedov of “Running”, Calls For Champ to be Stripped of Title
Following comments from Khabib Nurmagomedov, in which he seemed to confirm he won't be at UFC 249, Tony Ferguson is calling for the champion to be stripped of the title.
It looks like the chances of Khabib Nurmagomedov fighting Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 are slim to none, and “El Cucuy’s” accusing the champion of running from him. Not only that, the longtime-contender’s calling for Nurmagomedov to be stripped of the lightweight title.
Ferguson accuses Nurmagomedov of “running”
Recently Nurmagomedov returned to his native Dagestan in Russia to complete his training camp for the April 18th card. But, since then, Russia has banned travel in-and-out of the nation due to the coronavirus.
Although it remains to be seen if UFC 249 happens at all, once Russia announced the travel ban, the writing appeared to be on the wall, in terms of Khabib fighting at the card. Recently the lightweight champ seemed to confirm in a statement that he won’t be attending.
Well, since then, Ferguson spoke with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, and the former interim lightweight champ said the following (quotes via MMA Mania).
“Honestly I was very upset, but I feel more for everybody who is actually going through hard times. Of course I am a bit pissed,” said Ferguson.
“He had the chance to say here. He was in Abu Dhabi and had the chance to be able to come back before the borders were closed in Russia but he decided to go back to Dagestan. The guy does not want to fight. He’s scared and he should be stripped of his title.”
“I get what he wanted to do, obviously, he is here and his family is back home in Dagestan. He did what he had to do but he had the opportunity and he did the exact same thing as UFC 209,” he added.
“He knew he wasn’t cutting weight very good, he said it already that he was having a hard time cutting weight, focusing and doing everything else. To me that is running away,” proclaimed Ferguson.
“He obviously knew what he could do to help save this card and he didn’t want to take those chances. Everybody’s taking risks, but he bailed out. It’s pretty hard to explain, but he bailed out.”
“The guy does not want to fight. He’s scared, he’s running, he should be stripped of his title.”@TonyFergusonXT gives @arielhelwani his reaction to Khabib's apparent withdrawal from #UFC249 on @SportsCenter pic.twitter.com/B1Sx2gPQq6
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 1, 2020
Has Khabib “bailed” out?
Now, you can understand why Ferguson’s so frustrated. This marks the fifth time a fight between him and Khabib has been canceled (or so it seems), and obviously fighting the champ was a massive opportunity for “El Cucuy”.
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While Nurmagomedov’s camp has likely been impacted by the coronavirus, in terms of setting up training regiments, just staying focused etc, it’s hard to imagine that he went out of his way at this juncture to avoid the fight. Nurmagomedov has said he understands the need to restrict travel and to socially distance from others, as a means to fight the pandemic. Further, it wasn’t long ago that there was talk UFC 249 could be headed to the United Arab Emirates, and that was one of the reasons Khabib and his team left the U.S.