UFC president Dana White says everyone knew Khabib Nurmagomedov wasn’t going to fight at UFC 249.
Earlier this week, Nurmagomedov announced he was stuck in Russia due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He then took to social media again to say he would indeed be off the card which Tony Ferguson was not happy about. He called for the champ to be stripped of his belt and said the undefeated Dagestani champion was scared of him.
Yet, for White, he says when Nurmagomedov was stuck in Russia everyone knew he wasn’t going to be fighting.
“Everyone knew he’s not fighting,” Dana White said via text message to Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports about Nurmagomedov pulling out of UFC 249.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently 28-0 and coming off a third-round submission win over Dustin Poirier to defend his belt for the first time. Before that, he submitted Conor McGregor for his first title defense. The Dagestani champion has notable wins over Al Iaquinta, Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, and Michael Johnson among others.
Since pulling out of the event, Nurmagomedov says he is eyeing an event in San Francisco in August to fight Tony Ferguson. Yet, given the state of COVID-19, no one truly knows if everything will be back to normal in August.
Although Nurmagomedov is out of UFC 249, Dana White remains adamant the event will happen on April 18. The location has not been revealed yet but reports say Florida is a possible option. The main event could very well be Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, but nothing is agreed to at this point.
For now, no one should be surprised that Khabib Nurmagomedov is not fighting at UFC 249 due to the global pandemic. He also has Ramadan after that so he won’t be able to fight until August or September.
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/2/2020.