First it was a broken rib (Khabib), then fluid in the lungs (Tony), then a failed weight cut (Khabib), then an injury tripping over a wire (Tony) — and now a global pandemic.
UFC fans’ long wait to watch lightweight stars Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson throw down appears to have been delayed again after the champion revealed he cannot leave Russia under coronavirus restrictions.
“Currently, I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day, although I don’t know what am I preparing for, because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked. Same like in the States, same like in Europe, Emirates – everywhere. The whole world is in quarantine right now,” Khabib said on a live Instagram video.
“So now I am hearing that they are looking to organize it with or without me. OK, go ahead.
“Everyone should follow the laws. I am not against it. I know that fighters need to feed their families and pay their bills. I know how hard it is for the fighter. Unless they fight, they aren’t getting any money.
“I am even hearing that they are looking for an opponent for Tony, because he is in the States and I am here in Russia. But I am here not on my own will.”
Ferguson reacted to the news by tweeting: “April 18 is getting close Khabib and you’re hiding in Russia. Travel bans will not prevent me from whoopin’ that ass. Don’t use it as an excuse to back out. You have been sent many locations, send us one. Still my b****.”
Tony Ferguson. Picture: Harry How/Getty ImagesSource:AFP
The UFC had pressed on with its plans for the April 19 blockbuster despite most other sporting competitions around the world shutting down.
It appears determined to hold a pay-per-view on the date and reportedly wants Justin Gaethje to fill the gap if Khabib can’t fight.
Other fighters have also begun raising their hands for the opportunity if the Gaethje fight can’t be made.
Dustin Poirier texted Helwani saying he was available, while welterweights Jorge Masvidal, Kamaru Usman, Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington all suggested they could be available if the UFC wanted a 170-pound headliner.
Whatever the UFC comes up with will still feel like a major letdown compared to a match-up that was first scheduled for the Ultimate Fighter 22 finale in December, 2015.
I find it hard to believe Khabib couldn’t get out of Russia if he really wanted to. I’ve experienced Russia many times.
Rules don’t apply to people like him over there.
How can it even be suggested Khabib or Tony fight anyone else? This isn’t a normal fight. It’s a once in a lifetime match up to determine the lightweight GOAT. If you can’t get Tony to Russia, you delay the damn fight.
I love Justin and the rest of the killers in that division but this is just like blue cheese……If its not Khabib vs Tony……Go fuck your Mother!!!!
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