Just when everyone thought we would finally get a fight this time, all hope has been dashed after Khabib Nurmagomedov announced that he has withdrawn from UFC249. He was set to face Tony Ferguson, a fighter who he has been paired with now for 5 times but has never faced.
Fans of MMA have always recalled how both fighters have been scheduled to fight, but something kept preventing the fight.
This time, although it looks like Nurmagomedov’s fault, it is something much bigger and beyond everyone’s immediate control.
The Coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to sporting events worldwide and the MMA has been affected badly. The decision to continue with UFC249 has largely been pushed by UFC president, Dana White, who even hinted about staging the fight on the moon if possible.
Since he did not get approval from the authorities in New York to hold the fight in the initial venue, Barclays Centre, White has been looking for possible locations for the fight to hold.
For Nurmagomedov, his decision to pull out of the fight was based on the fact that he could not leave his country amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to him, “I understand everything and I’m definitely upset more than you to cancel the fight.” He pointed out that big countries and companies are being affected by the virus, “but Khabib still has to fight, is that what you are saying?”
While many people, including Connor McGregor, have called out the Russian, one thing remains clear – up until the time before he announced his withdrawal, the fight had no venue, giving very little hope that the fight would have even held at all.
Although White has claimed he would do all he can to secure a venue, the current situation of the world tells otherwise. Cities are on lockdown with serious restriction of gathering and movement.
White’s determination to make the fight go on by all means may stem from having to avoid setting up the fixture for a sixth time, but now that may just be what would happen.
Written by: Leon Osamor