UFC 249: Khabib v Ferguson on brink of being CANCELED as New York bans gatherings of more than 500 people
The measure comes as New York grapples with the burgeoning coronavirus crisis which has impacted the sporting landscape across the globe, and led to the postponement of most major sporting leagues in the United States.
It almost certainly spells disaster for the upcoming lightweight title match between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, potentially forcing the UFC to either postpone the event entirely or move it to an alternate venue.
We are taking new actions to reduce the density of people across the state.Starting Friday at 5pm, gatherings with 500 people or more will not be permitted in NYS.Additionally, for facilities with an occupancy of 500 or fewer, we are reducing the legal capacity by 50%.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 12, 2020
The UFC have yet to make a formal statement related to the pandemic but reports suggest they have made inroads into moving at least one event to their UFC Apex private facility in Las Vegas.
There is also speculation that an upcoming card set for Brazil will take place behind closed doors.
The situation is perhaps complicated by Nurmagomedov's stance on refusing to fight in Las Vegas - the most likely alternate location - until he receives an apology for what he deemed to be unduly harsh punishments levied against him for his part in sparking the brawl which ensued following his October 2018 win against Conor McGregor.
Either way, it seems almost certain that if the UFC intend their most anticipated fight of 2020 to happen on the date they advertised it will have to take place behind closed doors.
If indeed UFC 249 does fall victim to cancellation, it will incredibly be the FIFTH time that a fight between the two fighters has fallen apart.Also on rt.com Will the coronavirus crisis KO the upcoming Khabib-Ferguson bout for a FIFTH time?