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Justin Gaethje statement on UFC 249 cancelation, scrapped title fight

UFC Fight Night: Cowboy v Gaethje Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight contender, Justin Gaethje, lost his shot at the interim lightweight title when ESPN pulled the plug on the UFC 249 pay-per-view (PPV) event, previously scheduled for April 18 inside Tachi Palace Resort & Casino.

Sounds like he’s taking the bad news in stride.

“I really felt a surge of energy and support as this fight was building up from so many people across the world, it was very humbling,” Gaethje wrote on social media. “I am thankful to represent Safford, Arizona and my great friends and family. I’m going to be working hard to be ready next time the opportunity arises.”

With everything on hold until “Fight Island” is up and running, the promotion will have to decide whether to move forward with the original UFC 249 main event, featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson, or stick with “The Highlight.”

“Let’s get through this fight we are all facing right now by having a positive impact on our immediate surroundings (family, neighbor, community),” Gaethje continued. “Thank you! The boss Dana White is someone I am proud to do business with.”

If Nurmagomedov can leave Russia to compete on Fight Island, there’s a solid chance Gaethje will renew his rivalry with ex-lightweight champion, Conor McGregor. If not, expect “The Highlight” to be atop a very short list of title contenders later this year.

Assuming the coronavirus pandemic is under control by then.

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