Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced that he's officially out of of his UFC 249 matchup with Tony Ferguson. The UFC lightweight champ has decided to maintain quarantine in Russia. With the title fight between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson off the card, UFC president Dana White should just cancel the event.
Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson was the big fight on the card and everyone was looking forward to it finally happening. With that bout now done and all the worldwide restrictions in effect due to the coronavirus pandemic, there's no point in having an event on April 18 as scheduled. White has been insistent that the fight will go on, but it's 17 days from now and he doesn't even have a venue locked in.
This is the fifth time a fight between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson has been canceled, but it's for the best. Khabib can't leave his home country because of travel restrictions and several different locations have turned down hosting the event. Every other American professional sports league has halted activity, but White continues to insist the show must go on. It makes no sense.
UFC 249 was originally set for Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but after New York shut all non-essential businesses down, White was stuck trying to find a venue. He has yet to find one.
Ferguson is still willing to fight, but he deserves a title shot. He should wait for his chance to fight Nurmagomedov for the lightweight belt instead of facing someone beneath his stature. Some have suggested Justin Gaethje could step in and replace Khabib but that's, frankly, not worth it for Ferguson unless he gets a big pay bump for it.
The event should just be canceled and pushed back to a later date. Watching White attempt to find a venue and piece together a main event has been embarrassing for the organization given what the world is currently facing.