- Russia has just grounded all incoming and outgoing flights.
- Dana White claims UFC 249 will still take place next month.
- With Khabib in Russia, is this really possible?
Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artists on the planet. He’s scheduled to take on one of his biggest rivals, Tony Ferguson, next month. As Covid-19 continues to spread around the world, however, this fight becomes less likely to take place. With Khabib in Russia now, some feel there’s no way this fight is able to take place.
It would be hugely surprising to see this event happen next month. Infection rates from the new coronavirus continue to surge around the world. Here’s how this situation is evolving right now.
Dana White Still Wants to Put On Events Next Month
Just a month ago, less than 20 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the United States. Most people in the country had no idea how much of an impact this new coronavirus would have. Today, it’s clear.
Almost all of the country is now essentially shut down. Many states have stay-in-place orders to their residents. New York City is experiencing very troubling rises in infections. Many experts believe that the country’s healthcare system will be put under extreme strain over the next few weeks.
One industry that’s being impacted is the sports industry. Today, all major US sports leagues have completely shut down. This includes the NBA, MLB, and NHL. Dana White, president of the UFC, claims that he intends to get things back to normal next month.
According to White, the massive UFC 249 event will take place in April. This card is headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Many fans believe this is the biggest fight in UFC history.
It’s still unclear where this fight will take place. The UFC president claims he’s already chosen a location, yet refuses to tell the media. With Khabib in Russia training right now, some are claiming there’s no way for the bout to take place.
Khabib in Russia May Force UFC 249 to Be Canceled
This is an unprecedented situation the world is now dealing with. This virus has already proven to be devastating for several countries. Italy, for example, is seeing its hospitals pushed to the brink of collapse. Death rates continue to increase here every day.
More countries are now choosing to completely close off their borders. This includes Russia, which recently decided to ground all incoming and outgoing flights. With Khabib in Russia right now, it seems this may end any talk of the UFC 249 event taking place.
Reuters released a report that details the new measures being taken in Russia.
“President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he hoped Russia would defeat coronavirus in 2-3 months if it imposed tough measures, as authorities suspended international flights, ordered most shops in the capital to shut and halted some church services,” the report states. “Authorities in the capital and the region that surrounds it announced the closure of all cafes, restaurants and shops, apart from those selling food and medicine, beginning on Saturday and lasting at least until April 5.”
According to this report, the government can still authorize certain flights. Whether or not the leaders in Russia would approve Khabib to fly internationally for an MMA fight seems pretty unlikely, though.
Most analysts with in-depth knowledge of this virus claimed this fight would not take place. New regulations are being set every single day. There’s no way for the UFC to have a location secured when it may close its borders at any moment.
Even with Khabib in Russia right now, the UFC claims the fight will take place. Odds for this bout are still being offered.
Is Now the Perfect Time to Bet On UFC 249?
The fight between Khabib and Tony has been booked an incredible five times. Every single time these men are scheduled to compete, something has gotten in the way. This time around, it appears that a massive global pandemic may end up canceling the event.
Some sites are still offering odds on the bout. This includes BetOnline, one of the best internet sportsbooks in the country. Many feel this may actually be the perfect time to bet on UFC 249.
As of now, Khabib is entering this bout as the -310 favorite. He’s one of the most dominant fighters in the world. Even so, there are bettors that feel he shouldn’t be listed as such a favorite.
Tony Ferguson may have the perfect style to defeat Khabib. He’s an incredible grappler and possesses a very dangerous striking game. With odds of +260, Ferguson may have some of the best odds to make some serious money.
Khabib in Russia may be the final nail in the coffin for this bout. Unless Russia decided to lift its new regulations, it seems impossible for the fight to go on as planned. The UFC is a powerful sports organization, however, and anything is possible.
Do you think this fight will go on as planned this year? Let us know in the comments section below!