A highly anticipated fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson has been cancelled for the fifth time. The pair was scheduled to headline UFC 249 on April 19 (AEDT) live on pay-per-view from a yet to be announced location.
The first four bookings of the fight fell off due to weight cut and injuries to both competitors. In 2015 Nurmagomedov pulled out due to rib injury. In 2016 Ferguson pulled out due to a lung issue. In March 2017 Nurmagomedov fell ill due to weight cut. In 2018 Ferguson withdraw due to knee injury.
The fifth booking fell apart due to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which lead to cancellation of original venue, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, ban on public gatherings and closed international borders.
The reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who returned to Dagestan for his final weeks of fight preparation is stuck in Russia, which recently shut its borders. “The Eagle” has recently announced that he was out off UFC 249 fight (more on this here).
The number one lightweight contender Tony Ferguson reacted to the news, saying that the champion should be stripped of his belt.
Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor, who lost against Nurmagomedov in October 2018, posted his opinion about the fifth cancellation of Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson fight on Twitter.
“The fact of this matter is, both Tony and Khabib where engaged in a game of chicken here towards the fight bell,” Conor McGregor wrote. “With Khabib chickening out first. Making it 3-2 in pullouts in Tony’s favour. Khab scurried out of the U.S to home, and amid the crisis. Very high risk. Congrats Tony.”
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. Khab scurried out of the U.S to home, and amid the crisis. Very high risk.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 2, 2020
Earlier McGregor tweeted that he was “in shape to fight right now”. It is, however, unlikely that “The Notorious” would be stepping in to fight Ferguson in the US. Amid COVID-19 crisis McGregor called for more measures to deal with crisis, including a fix of a “not good enough” situation with the airports.