Khabib Nurmagomedov has confirmed he won't be taking part in UFC 249 as he's grounded in Russia, after being told his fight against Tony Ferguson wouldn't take place in the US.
The Russian appeared on social media to confirm he'd returned to his home country earlier in the month, after initially believing the fight would be happening outside of America, with Russia now closing its borders.
That means this is the fifth occasion that the Eagle and El Cucuy were due to step foot inside the octagon and had to cancel.
The pair were first due to meet back in December 2015 as part of the Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale. Nurmagomedov though suffered a broken rib in training and had to be replaced by Edson Barboza.
It was the Russian's third injury in 18 months, after he had previously last competed in a fight in April 2014, and left the Dagestani fighter questioning his future in the sport.
The fight was rescheduled for April 16th for UFC on Fox 19 but just 11 days before the event Ferguson had to pull out this time with a lung issue, the American reporting that he had 'blood/fluid' in his lung.
With Conor McGregor on a break after winning the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, Khabib and Ferguson were set to meet for the interim title at UFC 209.
However just two days before the fight Khabib was taken to the hospital because of complications with his weight cut.
The Russian was released from hospital in time but wasn't medically cleared to take part by doctors and Ferguson would later become interim champ later that year.
But he was stripped of the interim title after a freak knee injury ruled him out of the fourth scheduled fight with the rival he's yet to actually fight.
This time the Californian tore his fibular collateral ligament whilst getting on set for pre fight media obligation ahead of the scheduled UFC 223 meeting.
Ferguson was initially replaced by Max Holloway but he had to pull out because of extreme weight cutting and after the infamous bus attack by McGregor the Russian fought Al Iaquinta with the lightweight title on the line.
With the American undefeated in 12 fights, since his 2012 loss to Michael Johnson, the fight for the title against Nurmagomedov had everyone excited.
It looked like it would be cancelled due to Covid-19 but Dana White has been desperate to get UFC 249 arranged, even he's yet to confirm the location.
This is by far the oddest and most unpredictable reason for this match up not playing out inside the cage and it's starting to feel like this fight is destined to not happen.
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