A lot of sporting events have been canceled or suspended due to the coronavirus these past few weeks. But the UFC has been trying its hardest to put on events regardless, including the much-anticipated UFC 249 pay-per-view. Unfortunately, main event fighter Khabib "The Eagle" Nurmagomedov (28-0) looks poised to miss it.
According to ESPN UFC insider Ariel Helwani, Nurmagomedov says he is unable to leave his home in Russia for the event on April 18 because the nation has closed its borders. As a result, his long-anticipated title fight with Tony "El Cucuy" Ferguson (25-3) is set to be scrapped.
Nurmagomedov revealed that the UFC is already looking at alternate opponents for Ferguson to fight. Helwani went on to report that UFC contender Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje (21-2) is being offered as an opponent.
The pay-per-view event was slated to be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. But the New York State Athletic Commission would not sanction the event during the ongoing pandemic.
The UFC has been trying to put this fight together for years, but all kinds of crazy mishaps have gotten in the way.
Khabib pulled out the first time with an undisclosed injury, then Ferguson pulled out the second time with a lung issue. A third fight was axed when Khabib fell ill from a botched weight cut, and then the fourth was scratched when Ferguson injured his knee just six days before the fight.
It's almost as if the MMA gods just don't want this fight to happen.
But one person who probably does want the fight to go down is Conor McGregor. The Notorious One is in line for a title fight against one of those three fighters in the near future.
Will we ever see Khabib-Ferguson?