New York State Athletic Commission confirms UFC 249 will not take place in Brooklyn

UFC president Dana White had already said the UFC 249 clash between lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson would move forward despite the coronavirus pandemic, though it was “probably not going to be in the United States.” Now, it is confirmed the originally planned location of Barclays Center in Brooklyn is out.

The New York State Athletic Commission provided a statement to MMA Fighting after an initial New York Times report, stating “Out of an abundance of caution and in line with recent guidance issued by the Center for Disease Control and New York State, the New York State Athletic Commission informed the UFC that UFC 249 cannot be held in NY.”

The event was scheduled for April 18 and seemed sure to move as locations began to impose limitations on large gatherings. While the UFC planned to forge ahead with all events, starting with UFC Fight Night 170 in an empty arena in Brasilia, Brazil, the promotion was forced to cancel their next three as the global situation worsened.

White has maintained the promotion has been exploring alternative locations for UFC 249. With planned fights between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson having already been canceled four times previously, fans have worried the seemingly cursed fight could be taken down once again. Nurmagomedov says he is fine with the fight taking place anywhere.

“Honestly I don’t care,” Nurmagomedov said in an Instagram Live chat. “It’s going to be good if fight happens in the U.S. because I am here already for like one-and-a-half month. I’ve been training, and from this day we have like 30 days before the fight. Almost one month, and it’s going to be very good if we fight here in the U.S. But if not, any place. Any place, I don’t care.” 

Nurmagomedov manager Ali Abdelaziz has also floated the idea of the fight taking place in Africa.

“I talked to Dana White white last night,” Abdelaziz said. “He said there’s a possibility the fight is gonna be out of the country. We discussed about going to Zaire or Manila or some distant places. I said hey, Muhammad Ali did it, I’m sure Dana White can do it.”

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