Ben Askren wants to see Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson fight as a badly as the rest of us, and he’s got an idea he believes will ensure the fight happens even amid coronavirus-related restrictions.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been scheduled to fight four times previously to no avail. The UFC attempted to book them for a fifth time at UFC 249 on April 18 in Brooklyn, New York, but of course the coronavirus pandemic had to come along and derail that plan.
At the present moment, UFC President Dana White is adamant Nurmagomedov and Ferguson will still fight on April 18 — just not in New York, where public gatherings have been banned. In fact, the fight may have to occur outside the United States altogether, as most US territories have restricted gatherings of 10 people and up.
Yet Askren thinks Nurmagomedov and Ferguson could still collide on US soil with some careful planning.
“The one thing I said last night was, let’s not get greedy, Dana, let’s make this really simple,” Askren told Submission Radio recently (transcript via MMA Fighting). “All we need is Tony and Khabib, we don’t need an f’ing undercard. So, in America they’re doing 10 people maximum, you can’t have more than 10 people in a group. So, you’ve got Tony, Khabib, three judges. But, you could also have the judges be remote. So, you don’t actually have to have them there. Your referee, you have Dana, you have Bruce Buffer and you have Joe Rogan maybe. Maybe we take the judges out and make the judges remote at a remote location and we give them each two coaches or something, or one coach. I think there’s a way to do it to keep it under ten people and broadcast it.”
“It’s awesome. Please, please don’t cancel it.”
What do you think of this suggestion from Ben Askren? Could this be the strategy that saves the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson fight?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/20/2020.