MOSCOW, March 24. /TASS/. President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Dana White said on Tuesday he found a new location for the fight between Russia’s UFC Reigning Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and US fighter Tony Ferguson next month, but declined to name the venue.
Reached by Yahoo Sports journalist Kevin Iole on Tuesday via Instagram Live Chat and asked whether White knew about a new venue for the bout between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson on April 18, UFC president replied: "I do, but I am not ready to tell you yet. That fight will happen."
Nurmagomedov’s team signed a contract last November for the Russian fighter to face American Tony Ferguson at a UFC event in Brooklyn, New York, on April 18, 2020, in Barclays Center. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier in the month the state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which includes the cancellation and postponement of various sports events.
The New York State Athletic Commission announced on March 18 its decision to cancel the bout between the Russian and US fighters next month as a preventive measure against the ongoing global spread of the novel coronavirus as well as in accordance with restrictions by the New York State limiting large public gatherings.
"Everyone that’s going to be involved in this thing is going to be involved because they want to be, not because they have to be or they have to do anything," UFC President White continued. "There’s not going to be any fans there. This is going to be a closed event."
"And believe me, we didn’t just start thinking about safety when the coronavirus popped up, OK? Health and safety, these are things that normal businesses that are out there right now don’t necessarily have to think of on a daily basis."
"Health and safety is something we’ve been doing long before the coronavirus, and we’ll be doing it long after the coronavirus is gone. This is just normal… for us," Dana White added.
Last month, a spokesman for Nurmagomedov’s team told TASS that the Russian fighter and his team set off for the United States in mid-February for trainings ahead of his bout against the American opponent. US fighter Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson, 36, has a record of 25 wins (12 by KOs, eight by submission and five by decision) and three defeats.
Nurmagomedov was set to hold his trainings at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), which is a martial arts gym and one of the pioneer schools of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) based in San Jose, California. Russian UFC fighters Islam Makhachev and Umar Nurmagomedov also joined Khabib for the trainings in San Jose.
UFC Reigning Champ Nurmagomedov
In early September last year, Nurmagomedov defended his UFC champion’s belt for the second time in a title unification bout in Abu Dhabi against Dustin Poirier of the United States. The Russian defeated his US opponent with a choke in Round 3.
The 31-year-old Russian fighter, nicknamed ‘The Eagle,’ currently holds an unblemished record of 28 wins in all of his mixed martial arts fights (8 by KOs, 10 by submission and 10 by decision).
Khabib Nurmagomedov, hailing from Russia’s North Caucasus Region of Dagestan, was the first Russian to win the UFC champion title during the fight against his US opponent Al Iaquinta in the spring of 2018.
On April 8, 2018, Nurmagomedov routed Al Iaquinta in a five-round fight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight belt in New York.
At the UFC 229 tournament in Las Vegas in October 2018, Nurmagomedov defended his champion’s title in the fight against Conor McGregor, a renowned Irish professional mixed martial arts fighter and boxer.
COVID-19 Global Spread
On December 31, 2019, the Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown etiology in Wuhan, an economic and industrial megalopolis with a population of 11 million.
The virus was identified on January 7 as 2019-nCoV. The World Health Organization declared in January that the new coronavirus outbreak was a public health emergency of international concern, characterizing it as an epidemic with multiple locations.
On February 11, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that the organization gave the novel coronavirus an official name of COVID-19. On March 11, the World Health Organization officially stated that the continuously spreading novel coronavirus was a global pandemic.
As of today, 196 countries and territories reported confirmed coronavirus cases. According to the latest reports, over 392,160 cases have been confirmed worldwide. The virus’ death toll has reached 17,146, yet more than 102,850 patients have recovered from the disease.