Reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, took some heat from the mixed martial arts (MMA) community when he flew back to Russia amid the coronavirus pandemic.
I’m not sure there was much of an alternative as most of the world slowly but surely started to shut itself down, which includes the closing of major international borders, but that didn’t stop longtime rival, Conor McGregor, from getting his licks in.
That didn’t sit well with Nurmagomedov, who accused “Notorious” of playing both sides. Just last week, the power-punching Irishman called for a lockdown of his own country and pleaded with everyone — including his nation’s leaders — to stay home.
“A couple days ago, he sent message, ‘hey, people, please take care of your family, be safe, stay home, government says stay home,’” Nurmagomedov told ESPN. “Now he talk ‘I’m in good shape blah blah blah I’m gonna fight.’ This is fake. For me, it’s fake. I was always real. Maybe someone like, maybe someone don’t like, but this is not my job. But I was always real. But this guy’s fake.”
Nurmagomedov, who was supposed to fight the understandably livid Tony Ferguson in the UFC 249 pay-per-view (PPV) main event on April 18, already defeated McGregor by way of submission when they went to war back in late 2018, a bout that was competitive, but not close.
“When we had six months training camp before the fight, you do everything that you can, and you come inside the cage, you talk lot of bad things before the fight, six months you train very hard and you come inside the cage and you tap like chicken,” Nurmagomedov said.
As of this writing, the promotion has yet to secure a city or venue for UFC 249. As far as the coronavirus, the world has seen 1,039,922 infected and 55,170 dead, with no signs of slowing down in the immediate future.