As coronavirus spreads throughout the United States and the world, the sporting world has been put on hiatus. The NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball have all suspended their events. UFC president Dana White, however, insists that Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson will not be cancelled or postponed.
The next three UFC events – originally scheduled for March 21st, March 28th, and April 11th – will be postponed. However, UFC 249 will take place on April 18th as planned, according to White. “We’re postponing the next three events, but Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib [on] April 18 is still on,” said the UFC president.
Originally scheduled to take place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, UFC 249 will have to change venues due to the COVID-19 outbreak. White suggests that the event will likely be moved outside the United States: “No crowd; whatever it takes. It probably won’t even be in the United States, but this fight is going to happen.”
Khabib’s father and coach – Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov – suggests that Dubai may host the venue. “I think the Emirates will pay for the UFC fight faster and easier,” said Nurmagomedov, adding that he does not mind the lack of a crowd: “As for empty arena, I think the crowd is good, but no crowd is better.”
As for whether Khabib’s gym, AKA, would shutter its doors as part of COVID-19 containment efforts, Abdulmanap was unconcerned: “Even if they do so, two men – Khabib and Javier Mendez – will stay in the gym … If they fully close the gym, he’ll train outdoors individually. Can he take shower in America? That’s all you need for a camp.”
As of now, nothing has been confirmed. But for the time being, fans can solace in the fact that – at least on paper – there are no plans to cancel or postpone the biggest fight in the history of mixed martial arts.