Khabib Nurmagomedov seemed to slam the door on fighting Tony Ferguson on April 18, but Thursday he said he'll do it under two conditions.
The California State Athletic Commission, as first reported by ESPN, has canceled all combat sports events in its state through the end of May.Under guidance of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the move was a proactive measure to help inhibit the spread of the covid-19 virus that has the world dealing with a global pandemic."The Commission didn't take this decision lightly and understands the potential economic loss to promoters and the industry of combative sports. We had to weigh the best interest of our fighters and the community around us," the CSAC statement said.The UFC has already postponed at least three events, though company president Dana White has insisted on trying to move forward with UFC 249 on April 18. He has yet to name a location or a new main event now that UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to remain in place in his home country of Russia.The UFC had one date slated for California in May. UFC on ESPN+ 33 was slated for May 16 at Pechanga Arena with a main event featuring lightweights Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker. That event, at minimum, will have to move locations or be rescheduled for a later date.In addition to the UFC, Bellator MMA had also been slated for two events in California in May. Bellator 242 was set to feature dual-division champion Ryan Bader defend his light heavyweight strap against Vadim Nemkov on May 9 in San Jose. Former UFC contender Liz Carmouche was expected to make her promotion debut opposite Mandy Böhm in the Bellator 243 headliner on May 29, at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula.* * *TRENDING > Khabib Nurmagomedov rebukes UFC 249 critics: ‘I am Khabib. I am not coronavirus.’* * *Bellator had already announced that it was cancelling its May events prior to the release from the California State Athletic Commission.Most other fight promotions around the globe have canceled all events through at least April, if not May.
UFC president Dana White has been hard at work trying everything within his power to keep UFC 249 intact. His initial belief was that he'd even be able to keep the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson main event intact. Amidst the regulatory hurdles and restrictions that continue to fly up, White is running out of time to stick with his intended April 18 date. But even if he is able to do so, the main event between Khabib and Ferguson has been nixed for the fifth time. After returning to Russia, Nurmagomedov found himself basically locked down, as his country closed its borders. There was a glimmer of hope that he might be able to fly around the globe on a private business flight in order to keep the fight intact. He didn't appear to see the sense in that when nearly everyone, including longtime rival Conor McGregor, has been urging everyone to remain where they are to decrease the risk of continuing to spread the covid-19 virus that has the world under a pandemic crisis.Nurmagomedov has received praise and criticism for his decision to honor the restrictions, but has become frustrated by those that continue to say that he is begging his way out of the fight. Even McGregor, who has been making public videos to implore his country and the world into a full-on lockdown, took the time to take a dig at Nurmagomedov, saying he chickened out of the fight with Ferguson.In a video posted by ESPN MMA on Twitter, Nurmagomedov defended his position: "My name is Khabib. I am not coronavirus. Dana is Dana. Tony Ferguson is Tony Ferguson. My name is Khabib, but number one thing that make me crazy when people say I pull out or I do something. I no understand this. I still training since December. I train very hard, 9 December. I come (to) U.S. because UFC give me location, New York Barclays Center. I come U.S. I train 40 days, then everything is go crazy. They say U.S.A. 100 percent no fight. Okay. We move to Abu Dhabi, Dubai. Why? Because they told me 99 percent it's gonna be in Dubai. Like last my training camp, how I did, I come to U.S. I train with Coach Javier in AKA 55 days then we move to Abu Dhabi because fight was in Abu Dhabi. I understand, if Abu Dhabi, no problem. We did this before, we're gonna do this one more time. We come. They close gate. But this is not my problem. I don't make mistake. One more time, I wanna say I am Khabib, I'm not coronavirus."* * *TRENDING > Khabib Nurmagomedov declares himself out of UFC 249 main event* * *https://twitter.com/espnmma/status/1245782908360687620* * * Conor McGregor rips on Khabib Nurmagomedov for UFC 249 withdrawal(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)
Conor McGregor has been screaming from the rooftops about what he believes his country and the world should be doing to stem the tide of the covid-19 global pandemic. But that hasn't stopped him from using it to take another dig at rival Khabib Nurmagomedov.The Irishman has posted a few videos since the novel coronavirus was elevated from an epidemic to a pandemic, spreading across the globe. He both praised his country's government for increasing restrictions and called on them to do more, including shutting down airports and urging the utilization of the country's defense forces to ensure restrictions were being obeyed.Covid-19 has accelerated its spread over the past few weeks, but UFC president Dana White has tried his hardest to keep an April 18 date for UFC 249 intact. He had initially hoped to keep the lightweight championship between Nurmagomedov and challenger Tony Ferguson as the headliner, but that bout has fallen apart and McGregor is using it as a weapon to attack the champion."The fact of this matter is, both Tony and Khabib where engaged in a game of chicken here towards the fight bell. With Khabib chickening out first. Making it 3-2 in pullouts in Tony’s favour," McGregor wrote on Twitter on Thursday."Khab scurried out of the U.S to home, and amid the crisis. Very high risk. Congrats Tony." Why did Khabib return to Russia ahead of UFC 249?Nurmagomedov had been in the United States training at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., for the April 18 bout with Ferguson. When things started to shift because of the pandemic, Nurmagomedov made the decision to return home to Russia. “We were training in the AKA without any information regarding the fight, where and how is it going to happen,” Nurmagomedov said, as translated by RT Sport. “Then the UFC told us that the fight 100-percent isn’t happening in the States. And they said that 99-percent that it will happen in Emirates, Abu Dhabi.“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 19th or 20th, I’ll have to check. But when we landed in Emirates we learned that they are going to close borders. And no one will be able to leave or fly in, with exception for residents. So we had to fly back to Russia."Now, Russia has closed its borders to almost all international traffic. There was a tiny window left open, as Russia still allows private business travel, but Nurmagomedov seemed to shut the door on that idea as well on Wednesday."Staying home in quarantine and reading the reaction of people to the situation around my fight, 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?" Nurmagomedov said."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."Perhaps he was referring at least in part to McGregor when he mentioned famous people around the world urge people to follow all safety requirements, as McGregor has done just that in his multiple video posts.* * *TRENDING > Tony Ferguson: Khabib 'should be stripped of his title'* * * Conor McGregor glad he didn't have a fight booked during covid-19 crisisIn fact, McGregor, just before taking a dig at Nurmagomedov on Thursday, almost seemed to be coming to his defense in his tweet immediately prior to that one."I am in shape to fight right now! At the beginning of all this, I said to myself - I’m happy I don’t have an official fight booked," he wrote. "If I did, I would have consumed all the incorrect data to support me taking part in the bout, and I would have followed through, competed. And won."Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor via a fourth-round submission at UFC 229 on Oct. 6, 2018. Evidently, the rift between McGregor and Nurmagomedov runs so deep that nothing is off limits, even in the time of a global pandemic.https://twitter.com/TheNotoriousMMA/status/1245726053206831104?s=20https://twitter.com/TheNotoriousMMA/status/1245726244567748608?s=20
Mixed martial arts star Khabib Nurmagomedov said Wednesday he would not take part in a UFC card scheduled for April 18, saying he was not prepared to travel amid the coronavirus pandemic. Lightweight champion Nurmagomedov was due to have headlined the UFC 249 event in a bout against Tony Ferguson but said in a post on Instagram he was not willing to leave Russia for the 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," Nurmagomedov wrote.