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Coronavirus: Khabib won't fight Ferguson in UFC 249, hits back at critics

Bengaluru, April 2: Khabib Nurmagomedov said he would not take part in UFC 249, scheduled for April 18, saying he was not prepared to travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Unbeaten UFC lightweight champion Khabib was due to headline the card against American Ferguson, but said on Wednesday (April 1) he was not willing to leave Russia for the fight.

The 32-year-old took to social media to post that there is no chance he can fight as he follows orders to remain at home after coming in for criticism for the latest cancellation and said he is more upset than anybody that his fight has been postponed for a fifth time due to COVID-19 pandemic.

He posted 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?

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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

"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."

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has already postponed three events after officials were unable to find venues to stage bouts amid restrictions put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UFC had still not disclosed a venue for the Khabib-Ferguson fight, but president Dana White has spoken of his determination to organise the card.

Reports have said the fights were expected to go ahead without fans.

White said in an interview last week he wanted the fight to go ahead to try and restore "some normalcy" to US sport, which has been locked down since the coronavirus pandemic erupted.

"I''m gonna try to pull off Tony vs. Khabib on April 18 and try to get some normalcy back into this country," White said.

"I have four or five locations right now. We''re getting this deal done."

(With OPTA inputs)

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Story first published: Thursday, April 2, 2020, 4:40 [IST]
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