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UFC 249 update: Khabib is locked down in Russia

Khabib is locked down in Russia

UFC president Dana White insists the promotion’s fourth pay-per-view card will go ahead as planned, despite headliner Khabib Nurmagomedov being on lockdown in Russia due to the coronavirus.

Nurmagomedov was due to defend his lightweight title against Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 249, which was initially scheduled to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on April 18.

The coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent banning of mass gatherings led to the promotion losing the venue, although White ended up finding ‘four or five’ new locations for the card.

On Monday, however, it emerged that Nurmagomedov is stuck in his homeland of Dagestan after Russian introduced a cross-travel ban to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The lockdown has prompted the UFC to look for a new opponent for ‘El Cucuy’, with former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion Justin Gaethje being offered the fight.

Although the situation looks bleak for the once eagerly-anticipated card, White is adamant the event will still take place.

“The challenges are that every time I get something figured out, I wake up the next day and the world has completely changed again,” White said during an appearance on Frank Warren’s Heavyweight podcast. “Everything that I work hard on the day before, me and my crew, has now fallen apart.

“It literally just happened to us again today. I woke up today and Khabib Nurmagomedov is in Russia and they just shut down all travel in and out of Russia.

“I woke up this morning and the whole world f*****g changed again. So back to the drawing board and we’re figuring this out right now as we’re speaking right now, I have people working on this thing as we speak.

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