UFC president Dana White is hellbent on making UFC 249: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson happen.
The event is planned for April 18th originally at the Barclays Center in Brookl,y0n, NY. However, due to COVID-19, New York Governor Mario Cuomo has banned any major gatherings.
But White believes that the fight must go on. He has spoken out saying he will make the event happen at all costs and if anyone can do it it is him.
April 18 I’m free #theresurrection
— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) March 30, 2020
However, there are some odds stacked against the outspoken promoter that seems insurmountable. For one, there is nowhere in the States that will sanction the fight. He could look for a Native American casino on land that s not federal, but that is highly unlikely.
Also, main event fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov is stuck in Russia. The undefeated fighter is currently in Dagestan and Russian President Vladimir Putin has placed a halt on out of the country flights.
On Thursday, the Russian government banned all air traffic with foreign countries starting from March 27 to stem the spread of new coronavirus known as COVID-19. Only charter flights, organized to evacuate Russians from countries, hit by the coronavirus epidemic will be performed, the government said in a statement.
With Khabib Nurmagomedov unable to leave Russia due to travel restrictions, Tony Ferguson has been offered a fight at UFC 249 against top contender Justin Gaethje, sources tell @arielhelwani. pic.twitter.com/et4xH2CxrL
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 30, 2020
Tony Ferguson is based in California and although the state is shutdown, the airports are not. In fact, according to reports, Ferguson has already been offered Justin Gaethje as a plan B opponent.
However, UFC staffers are even scared to attempt this event.
Recently, UFC color commentator Joe Rogan discussed UFC 249 during a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. The veteran commentator and comedian is definitely not interested in being a part of the pay-per-view event during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The UFC is talking about putting on a fight on April 18. I don’t know how they’re gonna do that. I don’t know if they’re gonna be able to do it in the United States. They’re talking about doing it in a place with less than 10 people. Just an open arena,” he said.
“I guess someone’s going to commentate it – it’s not gonna be me.”
Rogan is a staple of UFC pay-per-view events and has worked as a color commentator since 2002.
“The thing is, how are they going to make sure nobody has it?” Rogan said. “You’re going to have to test everybody. And if someone has it, do you let them fight? What if they have it, and they’re like [actor] Idris Elba, and they have no symptoms, but they’ve got the corona? What if Khabib has the corona? Or what if Tony has the corona? Does Khabib even fight him?
“This fight is so cursed,” Rogan said. “This is how Dana feels. This is why Dana’s trying so hard to make it happen, even if there’s only 10 people in the room.”
The fight, which was canceled many times, is beginning to seem like Dana White’s Moby Dick-esque white whale. An impossible bout to book for all reasons possible. However, if it doesn’t happen, White, seems hell bent on defeating the sports Gods and keeping UFC alive through all of this.