By Bernd Debusmann Jr
The fight - UFC 249 - was slated to take place in Brooklyn, New York on April 18
The highly anticipated UFC clash between Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson may take place in the UAE if necessary because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to media reports.
The fight – UFC 249 – was slated to take place in Brooklyn, New York on April 18.
UFC president Dana White, however, said that the event might need to be moved outside the US as a result of the outbreak.
Already, three other UFC events over the next few months have had to be cancelled as a result of restrictions. White has repeatedly insisted UFC 249 will still take place.
On Tuesday, Nurmagomedov’s father Abdulmanap was quoted by Russia’s RBC Sports as saying that the event may now take place in the UAE.
“Most likely it will be in Dubai,” he said. “Firstly, it’s easier to fight diseases because of the heat. And I think the Emirates will pay for the UFC fighter faster and easier.
“Abu Dhabi may well be, but then, [that’s up to] Dana White,” he added. “I can’t approve, but there are more chances there.”
In a separate, earlier, interview, Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz told TMZ that Dana White had “said there’s a possibility the fight is going to be out of the country.”
“We discussed about going to Zaire or Manila or some distance places,” he said. “I said ‘hey, Mohammed Ali did it, I’m sure Dana White can do it.”
Khabib’s last fight – in UFC 242 against Dustin Poirier – took place in Abu Dhabi in September.
Sporting events throughout the UAE remain suspended due to restrictions imposed to control the spread of Covid-19 in the emirates.