UFC Begins Plans For UFC 249 Without Khabib Nurmagomedov
UFC are in need of a new main event for UFC 249, after Khabib Nurmagomedov confirmed that he won't be available to defend his lightweight title against Tony Ferguson.
Khabib left fans of MMA gutted on Monday when it emerged that the Russian won't be able to fight Ferguson on April 18th, the fifth time the pair have been scheduled to fight and have failed to do so.
With just over two weeks until the event Dana White needs to find something to close the show and, according to Ariel Helwani, it may still be Ferguson, only now the American would take on Justin Gaethje.
As a result, Tony Ferguson, per sources, has been offered a fight against top contender Justin Gaethje, however, that fight has not been agreed upon nor finalized. Neither has a location for the event.- Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 30, 2020
Earlier in the year UFC president White had claimed that Khabib's fierce rival Conor McGregor was going to be ready to step in if either of the UFC 249 participants had to back out again for any reason.
However the Eagle's reason for not being able to fight would also stop McGregor from competing as the Covid-19 outbreak has left the Russian grounded in his home country.
The Notorious would also be unavailable to get into America from Ireland, meaning Gathejie may be the best option to face El Cucuy.
Khabib travelled back to Russia because the pandemic had meant the event might take place outside the US. He initially flew to Abu Dhabi, where he claimed the fight would be, but when they looked like they would close their borders he flew home.
With just 19 days left until the event the promotion have no main event, even though neither White or UFC have confirmed their lightweight champion's news, or a venue.
Both New York and Nevada are out of the running to host the event, even behind closed doors, but White has remained bullish about keeping it on even in the face of Coronavirus.
The only other major sporting event going on is WWE's WrestleMania. It is the company's biggest show of the year but they have changed it because of the pandemic.
The show has already been filmed, instead of being live, has taken place at the WWE's Performance Centre, instead of a stadium, and will take place over two nights this weekend.