Khabib Nurmagomedov Can’t Leave Russia Due to Coronavirus, Tony Ferguson Fight Unlikely to Happen (UPDATE)

Khabib Nurmagomedov was set to face Tony Ferguson next month, but now the UFC 249 match seems unlikely to happen.

This is a photo of Khabib.

Image via Getty/Chris Unger

This is a photo of Khabib.

UPDATED 4/2, 10:30 p.m. ET: In an interview on ESPN MMA, Nurmagomedov defended himself as he feels as though many fans have been placing the blame for the fallout of the UFC 249 main event on his shoulders since he was the one who said that he couldn't make the fight due to travel restrictions in Russia. 

"My name is Khabib. I am not coronavirus," Khabib said. "My name is not coronavirus. Dana is Dana. Tony Ferguson is Tony Ferguson. My name is Khabib, but No. 1 thing what make me crazy is people say I pull out, or I do something. I don’t understand this."

Khabib stressed at the 4:30 mark in the video below that if the UFC can secure a location for UFC 249, and he's able to leave Russia, he will "100 percent" be ready to fight. 

If the UFC cannot figure it out before April 18, Nurmagomedov says he's willing to reschedule his fight for either August or September, after he observes Ramadan.

View this video on YouTube

Elsewhere in the interview (at around the 24:00 mark), Khabib took a shot at Conor McGregor. "He look like old prostitute who want attention," Khabib said.

Khabib was asked about Conor McGregor wanting to be in his IG live earlier.

Here was his response 👀👀👀

UPDATED 3/31, 11:50 p.m. ET: When ESPN's Ariel Helwani posted a Twitter poll asking if Tony Ferguson should wait to fight Khabib or fight Justin Gaethje instead, Conor McGregor's trainer, John Kavanagh, had an interesting response. 

maybe there's a third option...

— Coach JK (@John_Kavanagh) March 31, 2020

Though he didn't mention McGregor by name, the implication here is obvious. 

See original story below.

Khabib Nurmagomedov was set to face Tony Ferguson next month, but now the UFC 249 match seems unlikely to happen.

The fight was originally scheduled for April 18, but with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting travel Nurmagomedov is currently stuck in Russia. Speaking on an Instagram Live stream, as ESPN's Ariel Helwani pointed out, the MMA fighter said Russia's borders are closed. When he was training in California, he was told by the UFC that the match would not take place in the United States, and would likely happen in the United Arab Emirates instead.

"After talking to the UFC, we decided to fly over to the Emirates a month before the fight. I don't remember the exact date—it was (March) 19 or 20," he explained. "I'll have to check. But when we landed in Emirates, we learned that they are going to close (the) borders and no one will be able to leave or fly in with (the) exception of residents. So, we had to fly back to Russia."

He said that while he has been training "every day" for the fight, he added, "I don't know what am I preparing for, because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked." He continued, "Same like in the States, same like in Europe, Emirates—everywhere. The whole world is in quarantine right now."

Due to the situation, Ferguson has reportedly been offered a fight against Justin Gaethje as they are both American. It has not been finalized, however, so the details of the yet to be determined replacement match remain to be seen.

As a result, Tony Ferguson, per sources, has been offered a fight against top contender Justin Gaethje, however, that fight has not been agreed upon nor finalized. Neither has a location for the event.

— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 30, 2020

Four fights between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been cancelled so far. The UFC has yet to publicly comment on the status of the flight, but with no immediate timeline for the lifting of travel restrictions the fight is seemingly less likely day by day.

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