The fifth booking of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson fight may indeed fall off. To this moment, however, the contest is still scheduled to headline UFC 249 fight card on April 18. Yet due to the recent shut of Russian borders amid coronavirus outbreak, “The Eagle” might not be able to fly out of the country to face “El Cucuy” at a yet to be announced (determined) location.
According to reports Justin Gaethje has been offered to step in, in order to save the show. No contracts have been signed as yet.
Ariel Helwani of ESPN reported on Twitter that “Tony Ferguson, per sources, has been offered a fight against top contender Justin Gaethje, however, that fight has not been agreed upon nor finalized. Neither has a location for the event”.
Khabib Nurmagomedov recently said on Instagram Live that he was “hearing that they are looking to organize it [UFC 249] with or without me. OK, go ahead.”
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been previous booked four times from 2015 to 2018. Each time the bout was cancelled due to weight cut issues and injuries to both competitors.
UFC President Dana White has been working hard in order to proceed with UFC 249 as scheduled. Yet, due to a constant development of situation of COVID-19 and new measures to help fighting the virus, the things done today might not longer be relevant for the day after.
“The challenges are – that every time I get something figured out, I wake up the next day and the world has completely changed again,” Dana White said on the Heavyweight podcast (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “Everything that I work hard on the day before, me and my crew, has now fallen apart.”
“It literally just happened to us again today. I woke up today and Khabib Nurmagomedov is in Russia and they just shut down all travel in and out of Russia.”
“I woke up this morning and the whole world f**king changed again. So back to the drawing board and we’re figuring this out right now as we’re speaking right now, I have people working on this thing as we speak.”
Nevertheless, despite any potential obstacles, Dana White is determined to go through with UFC 249.
“Listen, I am absolutely f**king relentless and I said that this fight is going to go on and it will.”
More information will follow as the situation around UFC 249 main event bout develops.