Khabib Nurmagomedov responds to accusations that he pulled out of UFC 249

Khabib Nurmagomedov, UFC rankings
Image via @Khabib_nurmagomedov on Instagram

UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov will not be leaving his native Russia to fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on April 18.

Since Nurmagomedov announced this decision, many members of the MMA community — including Ferguson and Conor McGregor — have accused him of bailing on the fight.

Not so, says Nurmagomedov.

Speaking during a Thursday Instagram Live session, the champ elaborated on why he will not be fighting on the 18. He says it simply doesn’t make sense to leave home amid a global pandemic for a fight card that still doesn’t have an official location.

“I want to fight,” Nurmagomedov said. “But the UFC has no location. Europe, US, Asia… they never send location. So how is this to happen? Fly to where? This is what happened. No location.

“All gate is closed,” Nurmagomedov added, touching on the extreme difficulty of international travel. “US gate. Russian gate. Everyone is told to stay home for quarantine. The number one thing that drive me crazy about this is people say I pull out. How do I pull out when there is no gate? No location? This I don’t understand.”

It’s hard to argue with the champ on this one.

This is not the first time Nurmagomedov has commented on this issue. On Wednesday, he officially announced that he won’t be able to compete on the UFC 249 card in a lengthy statement posted to Instagram.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Staying home in quarantine and reading the reaction of people to the situation around my fight, it turns out that the whole world should be in quarantine, governments of all countries, famous people around the world urge people to follow all safety requirements in order to limit the spread of the disease, to save people, and Khabib is the only one relieved of all obligations and must demonstrate free will and train flying around the world, for the sake of fight? – I understand everything and I’m definitely upset more than you to cancel the fight, probably like all others, I had many plans after the fight, but I can’t control it all. The greatest countries and the largest companies of our time are shocked by what is happening, every day the situation changes unpredictably. But Khabib still has to fight, is that what you saying? – Take care of yourself and put yourself in my shoes. – 📍 Сижу дома на карантине и читаю реакцию людей на ситуацию вокруг моего боя, получается весь мир должен сидеть на карантине, правительства всех стран и известные люди всего мира призывают людей соблюдать требования безопасности, чтоб ограничить распространение болезни ради спасения людей, а Хабиб, освобождён от всех обязательств и должен демонстрировать свободу воли и тренироваться летая по всему миру рискуя своей жизнью ради боя ? – Я все понимаю и точно не меньше вас расстроен отменой боя, наверно у меня , как и у всех других, было много планов после боя, но я не в силах контролировать все это. Сверх державы и крупнейшие компании нашего времени в шоке от того, что происходит, каждый день ситуация меняется непредсказуемо. Но Хабиб все равно должен драться, так получается? – Берегите себя и поставьте себя на мое место.

A post shared by Khabib Nurmagomedov (@khabib_nurmagomedov) on

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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/2/2020.