Dana White issues Khabib Nurmagomedov statement amid UFC 249 drama
UFC president Dana White has issued a statement following the apparent collapse of the headline act for the promotion’s fourth pay-per-view card of the year. Despite not having a venue due to the coronavirus outbreak, UFC 249 is still tentatively scheduled to go ahead a week on Saturday.
The card was expected to be headlined by the eagerly-anticipated lightweight title fight between defending champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, a fight which has been in the making for nearly five years.
But the most anticipated fight in the history of the lightweight division was seemingly dealt a body blow on Monday when Nurmagomedov revealed he’s currently on lockdown in Russia, who have introduced a blanket travel ban to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
And on Wednesday, Nurmagomedov cast major doubt over the fight by appearing to withdraw from the card in a lengthy statement on Instagram.
The UFC chief, who has worked frantically to keep the event alive, was quizzed about Nurmagomedov’s participation on the card by Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole.
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And he appeared to suggest he was resound to the fact that Nurmagomedov wouldn’t be fighting a while back.
He said: “Everyone knew he was not fighting.”
UFC 249 was originally scheduled to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, though the promotion were forced to find a new home for the card shortly after the state of New York implemented a ban on mass gatherings.
The promotion have yet to announce a new home for the card, much to the annoyance on Nurmagomedov.
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“This is not a regular fight,” he told ESPN. “16 days before the fight, I do not know the location. What is this?! This is not professional.”
The UFC’s failure to inform Nurmagomedov of their plans has irked the reigning 155lb champion, who has hinted he could receive special permission to leave Russia to save the fight.
He said: “Right now, if they give me location and I can come out from Russia and I can go to any country.
“US, Abu Dhabi, doesn’t matter. I’m going to fight, 100 per cent. Just give me location.
“Every day, I send Dana White a message. ‘Hey, where’s my location.’ This is not my mistake.
“Too many crazy stuff, too many questions and I don’t have answer.
“I understand people are upset because this fight, this is like a dream fight for fans. This is my dream fight.
“I lose money, I lose so much money. Nobody lose like I lose. Nobody. I lose so much things. I want to fight.”
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