This time, Khabib Nurmagomedov is not laying the decision to exit a bout with Tony Ferguson on his own shoulders. Nurmagomedov officially pulled out of the planned UFC 249 title defense with Ferguson set for UFC 249 later this month.
"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?" Nurmagomedov said in a statement release. "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."
This marks the fifth time the bout between the two has been scheduled and fallen apart, as injuries and other issues canceled the rest. This time, the COVID-19 virus is the main reason behind 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," Nurmagomedov said. "Currently, I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day, although I don't know what am I preparing for, because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked."
It is believed that the UFC is looking to book a replacement for Nurmagomedov to keep Ferguson on the card. Further details should follow in the coming days regarding the planned event.