Image source: Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov Instagram (@abdulmanap.nurmagomedov)
The coronavirus has hit businesses and events all across the globe with most major sporting events choosing to postpone their upcoming events in the near future.
Yesterday it was officially announced that the UFC were forced to postpone their next three events despite putting up a valiant effort to keep the events on. UFC President Dana White confirmed the news to SportsCenter.
White also confirmed that the next pay-per-view event UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson would still go ahead even if they had to host the event outside of the United States.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov has spoken to Russian outlet RBC Sports and said he believes the bout between Khabib and Tony Ferguson should be moved to Dubai in order to keep the event going ahead. The below quotes have been translated from Russian to English via Google Translate so may not be entirely accurate.
“Most likely it will be Dubai. Firstly, it’s easier to fight diseases because of the heat. And I think the Emirates will pay for the UFC fight faster and easier.
Abu Dhabi may well be, but then, as Dana White agrees. I can’t approve, but there are more chances there.”
Currently the event is scheduled to be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The impact of the virus is still likely to increase leading to tight restrictions around gatherings of people. This could mean the event has to be relocated overseas in order to ensure it continues ahead.
Abdulmanap suggests that Khabib is in good shape and isn’t worried about the coronavirus or the impact that may have on his bout with Ferguson. Abdulmanap also likes the idea of having the fight without fans in the arena and appeared to suggest that this is better than having fans in the arena anyway.
“Khabib feels great, everything is going according to plan. He is not afraid of the coronavirus; we are all mortals. What about empty stands? I think that the audience is good, but without them it is even better.”