In a new Instagram Live Q&A, Khabib Nurmagomedov has vented his frustration at those who have been critical of him for backing out of his UFC 249 title fight with Tony Ferguson due to the coronavirus pandemic.
During the session, Nurmagomedov repeatedly brought up the issue of travel restrictions and the UFC’s inability to lock down a location for the event to take place as being a major issue for him.
“We talk about where we going to fight,” Nurmagomedov said. “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?”
Nurmagomedov was also keen to stress that he did try to make the fight happen, even flying to Dubai at one stage when it looked as if the fight would take place, only to then be turned away at the airport.
“We left San Jose, when we landed in Dubai, we land 8 p.m. at night, and they say 12 a.m. they closed gate. We tried to go in but this is impossible. They say this is impossible. Then I said OK, whatever happens, we’re going to go to Dagestan and we’re going to keep training. After Dubai, we come to Dagestan, and we keep training.
“Right now, I finished my training. Everyday I’m training, and I’m waiting for location. But they don’t send it. All gates are closed. Russia gate closed. U.S. gate closed. Everywhere is closed. Everybody is sent home, quarantined. All government. Famous people. Even Dana [White]. Where is Dana? Everybody is at their house. Everybody stay home. Everybody in quarantine. All governments, all presidents, all famous people. Everybody talk about, ‘Please people stay home,’ because people die everyday. Thousands of people die, and No. 1 country right now [for coronavirus] is the U.S.
“…So we move to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, why? Because they told me 99 percent 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.”
Looking ahead, Nurmagomedov has Ramadan on the horizon from April 23rd, so he now expects to be unable to fight until the summer, and assuming the coronavirus situation dies down by then he sees opportunities for him to finally have his showdown with Ferguson.
“So much questions, but no answers, but we’ll see what’s going to happen,” Nurmagomedov said. “I hear UFC (is working) on making a show in San Francisco in August. This one is very good. Maybe in August everything is maybe finished, but nobody knows. I hear they’re going to make show in Abu Dhabi in middle of September. September in Abu Dhabi. August in San Francisco.
“Maybe, I don’t know. If now they can’t make show, of course after Ramadan is going to be August. But right now in U.S. everything goes crazy. Nobody knows when this thing’s going to go down. Nobody knows. Maybe June. Maybe July. But for sure, April, May is going to be crazy months. Too much questions. Right now, it’s time to think about [health]. Stay healthy. Take care of yourself.”