Khabib Nurmagamedov v Tony Ferguson is off for the fifth time. What must be the most cursed fight in the history of MMA will no longer be going ahead in New York thanks to the coronavirus. Covid-19 has resulted in UFC 249 being cancelled. It will no longer take place in Madison Square Garden.
The coronavirus has wreaked havoc across the world. Many countries are on full lockdown while deaths are rising around the globe. In light of this, a canceled MMA card doesn’t make much difference. However, for diehard fans it is a blow and it’s only human to be disappointed.
It’s not the first sports event canceled. Everything from the NBA, the Kentucky Derby, and Euro 2020 have been scrapped. Will the Olympics be next? However, some hope does remain for UFC 249 outside of the US.
Dana White is adamant that the fight will happen. However, the big question is where? The entire state of New York has declared a state of an emergency preventing crowds of over 500 people from being in the same place. Despite this, White is insistent that he won’t let the coronavirus win.
“That fight will happen,” he told DAZN. “It will go on. The fans are all freaking out about that, do not worry. Khabib vs. Tony will happen.”
Will it though?
Khabib still has hope. The UFC lightweight champion is still preparing for his clash with the former interim champ. It’s the one fight that all diehard MMA fans want to see. He says that it doesn’t matter where it is as long as it goes down. We agree. UFC Antarctica has a nice ring to it. Khabib said in a live stream:
“We’ll see. Next couple of days, Dana’s going to send us location. We need maximum 100 people inside the arena. Close the arena, 100 healthy people come inside and make the show,” he said. “Put the camera on pay-per-view, and everybody can fight. People who are quarantined and (are sitting) home, they’ll have fun and watch fights.
“I think we just need 100 people to make this fight. Put the camera on and show who’s the best lightweight of all time. This is a very important fight, and this is why I like the UFC’s politics. They always try to make the best versus the best.”
Meanwhile Khabib’s father Abdulmanap believes that the Middle East will be the location. Khabib’s last fight against Dustin Poirier was in Abu Dhabi so he has previous there. The elder Nurmagamedov thinks it makes sense.
“Most likely it will be Dubai,” Abdulmanap told RT Sport. “Firstly, it’s easier to fight diseases because of the heat. And I think the Emirates will pay for the UFC fight faster and easier.
“Abu Dhabi may well be, but then, [that’s up to] Dana White. I can’t approve, but there are more chances there.“Khabib feels great, everything is going according to plan,” he said. “He is not afraid of the coronavirus, we are all mortals. What about empty stands? I think that the audience is good, but without them it is even better.”