Khabib Nurmagomedov has hit back at critics after he was forced to pull out of the UFC 249 main event against Tony Ferguson. The Lightweight champion is stranded in Dagestan due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Khabib was scheduled to defend his title in a highly-anticipated bout with Tony Ferguson. However the travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus means that he will not be able to make April 18th – with a venue still not decided on for the event.
The card had originally been set for the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York however that location was shelved, and despite almost all other sports shutting down, UFC President Dana White has been adamant that the event will still take place.
“We talk about where we going to fight,” Nurmagomedov said during an Instagram Live session on Thursday, in quotes reported by MMAFighting.com “
“U.S., Europe, Emirates, Asia, whatever, but nobody knows location, but everybody wants I fly somewhere. UFC don’t show us location. Where we going to fight? This is what I’m talking about.
“I don’t understand this. The UFC tried to find a location last almost one month. They don’t find. What about me? This is my mistake?”
Khabib continued by outlining that he feels he is being made a scapegoat for the event’s struggles despite the global pandemic that has decimated the sporting landscape.
“You know what’s interesting? My name is Khabib, I am not coronavirus,” Nurmagomedov said. “My name is not coronavirus. Dana (White) is Dana. Tony Ferguson is Tony Ferguson. My name is Khabib. But No. 1 thing that makes me crazy is when people say I pull out or I do something. I (don’t) understand this. I’m still training since December. I train very hard since December.
“I come to US because UFC give me location, New York, Barclays Center. I come to US I train 40 days, then when everything goes crazy, they say U.S. is 100 per cent no fight.
“So we move to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, why? Because they told me 99 per cent it’s going to be in Dubai. Like my last training camp, I come to U.S., I train with coach Javier [Mendez] at AKA for 55 days, then we move to Abu Dhabi because fight was in Abu Dhabi. That’s why we moved to Abu Dhabi.
“I understand. If Abu Dhabi, no problem. We did this before, we’re going to do this one more time. Let’s go Abu Dhabi. We come, they close gate. This is not my problem. I don’t make mistake. One more time, I want to say I am Khabib, I am not coronavirus.”
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