On Monday, UFC President Dana White elected to cancel the promotion’s next three events amid the growing risks and restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. That means the next event on the UFC calendar is UFC 249, which is scheduled for April 18 in Brooklyn, New York, and topped by a lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
Given the current situation, many fans are worried that this Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson fight will fall through. The matchup, of course, is already the source of ample superstition, having been canceled four times previously.
Yet White says the fight will go ahead, even if it has to take place on foreign soil.
“We have no choice now but to postpone these fights. So we’re postponing the next three events, but Tony Ferguson versus Khabib, April 18, is still on and that will still happen.”@danawhite joined @SportsCenter to address the postponement of upcoming UFC events. pic.twitter.com/FxKOAKnOEv
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 16, 2020
“Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib on April 18 is still on and that will still happen,” White said on SportsCenter on Monday night.
“We’re going to follow these guidelines not to have more than 10 people in a room, and we’re hoping this all clears up by April,” White added when pressed for details on how Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson can be made possible. “This fight’s going to happen. No crowd — whatever it takes. [It’s] probably not even going to be in the United States but this fight’s going to happen.
“Khabib-Tony is on for the original date,” White concluded. “We’re going to keep fighting.”
At present, large public gatherings are not allowed in New York, where UFC 249 was originally scheduled to take place. Large gatherings are also banned in most other territories, so it will be very interesting to see where—if anywhere—the UFC is able to promote this Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson fight.
Do you think Dana White can pull it off? Will Nurmagomedov and Ferguson end up fighting this April, or will the COVID-19 pandemic have other plans? Let us known your thoughts in the comments section.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/17/2020.