Khabib’s Father Suggests UFC 249 Be Moved To The UAE
How long must fans have to wait until we see Tony Ferguson face off against Khabib Nurmagomedov? If the UFC were to get its way, the fifth time will be the charm. But what venue would the event be put in?
Yesterday it was announced that the UFC would be postponing three events due to the coronavirus pandemic: UFC London, UFC Columbus and UFC Portland. UFC President Dana White attempted to keep the first event going by calling anyone who was available. He left one important event off of the postponed schedule, however: UFC 249.
Originally scheduled to take place inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 18, the UFC Lightweight Title fight between Khabib and Ferguson has been delayed many times. Whether due to injury or weight issues, the bout never seemed to materialize. Now, with the governor of New York, the CDC and The President requesting all events with people be limited to groups of less than ten, the United States may not be the place for the event. No matter what it takes, Dana White promised that the fight would go on.
Someone close to the situation has a small suggestion that could help the UFC’s fearless leader out.
Abdulmanap, Khabib’s father, spoke to RBC Sports about a heated location that could result in groups of people attending UFC 249. He is talking about the United Arab Emirates.
“Most likely it will be Dubai,” Abdulmanap stated, via MMA Fighting. “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, [that’s up to] Dana White. I can’t approve, but there are more chances there.”
A few years ago, the UFC signed a multi-year deal with the Abu Dhabi government which allows them to host one event a year in the area over the next five years.
“We are making a long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi because we have had great success in that market,” White stated in a release, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The demand from our fans to bring UFC back to Abu Dhabi has been overwhelming, and over the next five years, DCT Abu Dhabi will help us deliver some spectacular UFC championship fights to the UAE.”
Prior to that, one of the UFC’s first appearances in the area was in 2010 at UFC 112. In the main event, Anderson Silva beat Demian Maia via unanimous decision to successfully defend his UFC Middleweight Championship. The co-main event saw Frankie Edgar beat B.J. Penn to become the new UFC Lightweight Champion. The company returned there in 2014, where in the main event Roy Nelson def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via KO.
This would not be the first time Khabib competed in the UAE. His last fight against Dustin Poirier was at UFC 242 in September, which took place in Abu Dhabi. Khabib ended up submitting Poirier in the third round.
The fighters and Dana White are insisting the fight will happen. Even with the coronavirus affecting events all over the world, this fight will look to avoid any further delay, no matter the location.