'It's going to be a closed event': UFC president Dana White says Khabib vs. Ferguson WILL go ahead – at a mystery location
The oft-booked and long-awaited clash between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former interim champion Tony Ferguson was set to take place at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on April 18, but the ongoing and escalating coronavirus outbreak in the United States has meant those plans had to be scrapped.Also on rt.com ‘We don’t know where we’re fighting or if we’re fighting at all’: Khabib posts update upon arrival in Russia
That doesn't mean the fight is off, however, as White told Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole that he has not only kept the fight alive, he now has a location for it.
"I do (know where it is)," he told Iole on Instagram Live.
"But I’m not ready to tell you yet. I know lots of things. There’s not going to be any fans there. It’s going to be a closed event."
White has always looked to keep his shows alive, despite the increasingly difficult environment in which he has to operate. Much of the United States is in lockdown, and public gatherings have been banned as the country, like so many across the globe, struggles to slow the spread of the illness among its population.Also on rt.com Khabib returns to Russia from US due to Covid-19 pandemic, less than month out from Ferguson fight
White, however, remains steadfast in his belief that the UFC can still operate under these restricted circumstances, and he said that while he understands others' concerns, he will continue to press forward, while ensuring health and safety issues are paramount.
He also said that any staffers or fighters who felt uncomfortable with his moves are welcome to step back until things are fully safe again.
"Everybody who is going to be involved in this thing is going to be because they want to be, not because they have to be or they have to do anything," he said.
"Believe me, we didn’t just start thinking about safety when the coronavirus popped up. Health and safety, these are things that normal businesses that are out there right now don’t necessarily have to think about on a daily basis.Also on rt.com Masked Khabib shares coronavirus message with fans as he trains in isolation for Tony Ferguson fight
"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 sh*t for us."
White's plans to host Khabib vs. Ferguson as the headline fight on a full UFC 249 card at an unknown location have fans wracking their brains about where it might be held.
But, regardless of the location, the message from White seems clear. The show must go on.Also on rt.com Don’t doubt I’ll make Khabib vs Ferguson happen, says UFC chief Dana White as coronavirus obstacles mount