UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov finally revealed what he’s choosing to do on April 18 after reports surfaced Wednesday that private business flights would indeed be allowed out of Russia despite that country’s recently enacted cross-border travel restrictions.
In short, Nurmagomedov isn’t going to fight at UFC 249.
The 31-year-old champ said he’d rather follow the advice of top health officials instead of trying to hop a private plane so he could face Tony Ferguson next month at UFC 249.
Nurmagomedov revealed his thoughts on the matter via Instagram in both English and Russian. In his post, Nurmagomedov basically admits that it’s possible he could find a way to UFC 249 next month but that he doesn’t believe it’s the right thing to do.
Nurmagomedov said, “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?”
Essentially, Nurmagomedov doesn’t believe rich and famous people such as himself should be following a different set of rules than others during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the undefeated dynamo understands how that might disappoint some fans, he assures those who might feel slighted by his decision that nobody is going to be as disappointed as him.
“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,” Nurmagomedov said.
Nurmagomedov believes this unprecedented situation should be handled in the way suggested by physicians and scientists. The COVID-19 outbreak isn’t just causing issues for people in the sports world. Every company and government is having to make new kinds of choices on a daily basis.
“The greatest countries and the largest companies of our time are shocked by what is happening, every day the situation changes unpredictably,” Nurmagomedov said.
The lightweight champ, who is ranked No. 2 in the UFC’s men’s pound-for-pound rankings behind Jon Jones, doesn’t understand why some would expect him to fight at UFC 249.
“But Khabib still has to fight, is that what you saying?” Nurmagomedov asked.
Nurmagomedov clearly doesn’t agree with that idea. Moreover, he asks fans and media to look at things from his perspective.
“Take care of yourself and put yourself in my shoes,” Nurmagomedov said.
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