At this point, no one knows what will happen with UFC 249 later this month. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White would have you believe that UFC 249 is going smoothly, but the problems continue to pile up like a used car on its last leg.
In addition to still needing an actual location to build an octagon and accommodate the entire UFC 249, White now faces the likelihood of Khabib Nurmagomedov relinquishing his main event light title defense. to veteran Tony Ferguson. This is because COVID-19 travel restrictions in Russia make it almost impossible for Khabib to leave the country, especially when he does not know where to go.
While combat fans have always thought that White was trying to integrate Khabib into his UFC 249 makeshift plans – considering that this is the fifth time that the promotion has reserved Nurmagomedov against Ferguson – apparently, the president of the UFC knew that “Eagle” would not be competing with month.
“Everyone knew he was not fighting,” White said to Kevin Iole of Yahoo via text message earlier this week.
White obviously rolls with the punches on this thing and reveals as little human information as possible to the MMA media, but that does not seem entirely correct. Khabib’s ability to travel outside Russia was removed last week, so White is unlikely to have known for far too long that Nurmagomedov was not an option for the UFC 249 headliner.
Although things can still improve with Khabib finding a way out of Russia, it looks certain that UFC 249 will progress without the undefeated Russian champion in the main event marquee. It is incredibly disappointing not only for the simple fact that Nurmagomedov against Ferguson has been denied us five times now, but also because it blocks a division that has just started to clarify.
Fortunately, the UFC is still trying to present the UFC 249 Pay As You Go card later this month as Justin Gaethje is brought in as a potential replacement for Khabib. It’s not the glorious lightweight deal that everyone was hoping for, but “Highlight” will certainly bring the warmth and give Ferguson everything he can handle if the two clash on April 18 in a place still determine.