UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov says he won’t leave quarantine in Russia to fight, dealing another blow to UFC President Dana White’s determination to hold UFC 249 on April 18 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Nurmagomedov made his announcement Wednesday on Instagram, telling the mixed martial arts world to take care of yourself and put yourself in my shoes.
Nurmagomedov (28-0) was scheduled to fight top contender Tony Ferguson (25-3) in the main event of UFC 249 in two weeks. The show was initially slated for Barclays Center in Brooklyn before the pandemic threw the UFC’s schedule into upheaval.
Nurmagomedov is in his native Dagestan, and his Instagram post made it clear he isn’t leaving for the fight even if White is able to find a location to stage it. Nurmagomedov left California to return home when the UFC had tentative plans to stage UFC 249 in the United Arab Emirates, but the champion first revealed Monday that he probably wouldn’t be allowed to leave the country again due to travel restrictions.
I understand everything and I’m definitely more upset than you to cancel the fight, Nurmagomedov said. Probably like all others, I had many plans after the fight, but I can’t control it all.