Dana White uncertain about rebooking Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson
The third time was supposed to be the charm but instead no one will witness Khabib Nurmagomedov step into the Octagon with Tony Ferguson on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
The two top ranked lightweights were scheduled to meet for an interim title, but it was also the third occasion where they’ve been booked for a fight before it was scrapped in the days leading up to the event.
Both fighters had previously pulled out of a scheduled bout due to injury and this latest disaster happened after Nurmagomedov suffered through a brutal weight cut that landed him in the hospital, which forced doctors to pull him from the card.
With this fight now falling apart three separate occasions, UFC president Dana White doesn’t sound too certain about booking Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson for a fourth time .
“I don’t know where to go from here. I don’t know what to do. I’ve got to see how this whole thing plays out,” White said on Friday following the UFC 209 weigh-ins.
“This reminds me of [Jon] Jones-[Daniel] Cormier, the fight that’s always supposed to happen and never happens. I don’t know what to do next. I’ve got to see what happens tomorrow and go from there.”
According to White, Nurmagomedov’s team contacted him at 4 a.m. in the morning to alert him that the undefeated Russian fighter was on his way to the hospital, which told the UFC president pretty much everything he needed to know.
White also stated in a separate interview with FS1 that had Nurmagomedov’s team contacted the UFC doctors rather than just going to the hospital when he was feeling ill that there’s a chance the fight could have been salvaged.
“They hit me at 4 in the morning and my reaction was this fight’s over, I’m going back to sleep. I didn’t want to be up at 4 in the morning sick, then when I got up later and I was driving down Sahara, I was suicidal. Not a good day for me,” White said.
“Basically, his team had decided to take him to just some random hospital here in Las Vegas instead of picking up the phone and calling our doctor and calling Brianna [Mattison], who runs all the medicals,” White said. “They went rogue and went out and did their own thing. Had they done this thing the right way, the fight probably could have been saved.”
After Nurmagomedov received fluids from the hospital, he was on his road to recovery and seems to be doing well now after a very arduous weight cut.
“Khabib’s OK. Obviously he was in the hospital for a while. When you get dehydrated like that it’s about replenishing and he had a few bags of IV and was treated so he’ll be OK but that whole weight cutting thing when you don’t do it the right way, it’s dangerous,” White said.
While the UFC president is clearly not ready to rebook the pivotal lightweight matchup, light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is already advocating for the fight to be added to UFC 210 — the card he’s set to headline in April in Buffalo.
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) March 4, 2017
Cormier is also Nurmagomedov’s teammate at American Kickboxing Academy so it stands to reason why he’d like to see the fight take place the same night as his title fight against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.
For now, Nurmagomedov will continue to recover while Ferguson has to sit and wait to find out when he’ll next compete after making weight on Friday only to find out minutes later that he wouldn’t be fighting on Saturday.