Dana White says he is taking full responsibility that Khabib Nurmagomedov had to pull out of UFC 249.
“I’m sure you saw today, Khabib posted, ‘Hey, as soon as Ramadan is over, I’m ready to roll,’” White told BT Sport on Thursday (h/t MMAFighting). “There was a lot of questioning Khabib, people were saying ‘Oh he got trapped in Russia’ or whatever; what he said is absolutely true. None of us saw coming what happened and how fast it was rapidly changing and the world was literally changing by the day. We all made some bad decisions that got him stuck in Moscow. It wasn’t just him, we all did. I take responsibility for that too.
“It happened, and you know what we get out of that? We get Gaethje versus Ferguson, which is gonna be absolutely ridiculous.”
Due to Khabib Nurmagomedov pulling out, Tony Ferguson will now battle Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 249 for the interim lightweight title. It’s a fascinating fight where the winner will fight the champ sometime in the summer or fall once Ramadan is over with.
Currently, the UFC is focusing on May 9 on Saturday. White says all the other sports leagues will pay attention to it. He believes no one wanted to be the first sport back, so he took the lead.
“I would imagine that live sports are watching us right now saying, ‘Let’s see how this thing plays out for them and maybe we’ll take some risks,’” White said. “Nobody ever wants to take risks, nobody really wants to be first. Nobody wants to assume the responsibility of being first. My team, my athletes, we’re built for this sh*t.”
Regardless, it is disappointing news for many that we aren’t getting Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson due to the champ being stranded in Russia. But, we now know that Dana White gave him the green light to go back home.