Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager issues defiant statement after UFC 249 withdrawal
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz has issued a statement following the UFC lightweight champion’s withdrawal from his showdown with Tony Ferguson. Nurmagomedov was slated to defend his title against ‘El Cucuy’ a fortnight on Saturday in the main event of UFC 249.
On Wednesday, however, Nurmagomedov – who is currently on lockdown in Dagestan after Russia introduced a blanket travel ban – announced he would no longer be taking part in the contest due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Russian, surprisingly, received stick from fans after he announced his withdrawal on social media, with several accusing him of ducking Ferguson.
That notion, which Ferguson himself perpetuated, irked Abdelaziz, who launched an impassioned defence of ‘The Eagle’ on Twitter.
Alongside a picture of Nurmagomedov at the first UFC 229 press conference, Abdelaziz tweeted: “Undisputed undefeated pound for pound king.
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Soon we will have all the answers you want to know
Khabib Nurnagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, on Twitter
“All dogs can bark and everyone wants to make smoke.
“Soon we will have all the answers you want to know. Bend the knees @TeamKhabib.”
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson, 31 and 36 respectively, have been scheduled to face one another a staggering five times but have yet to share the Octagon.
The latest twist in their story has greatly irked Ferguson, who believes Nurmagomedov returned to his homeland with no intention of leaving.
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“Obviously I was very upset, I feel more for everybody else that’s actually going through some hard times,” Ferguson told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. “It’s a little bit different, of course I’m a little bit p****d.
“He had the opportunity to stay here, he was in Abu Dhabi, but had the opportunity to come back before the borders were closed in Russia.
“He decided to go back to Dagestan to finish his camp. The guy does not want to fight, he was scared, he’s running, he should be stripped of his title.
“I’m always down to fight anybody, anytime anywhere. The fight’s against Khabib, man, this is the guy, everybody just wants to fight him.”
Nurmagomedov, 31, revealed he’d no longer be fighting Ferguson in a lengthy Instagram post, in which he hit out at those wanting him to fight in the midst of a global pandemic.
“Staying home in quarantine and reading the reaction of people to the situation around my fight,” he wrote on Instagram.
“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?
“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.”
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