Russia is currently under lockdown due to the coronavirus and Nurmagomedov is trapped in Russia due to that lockdown.
Nurmagomedov would go on Instagram Live to explain the situation, stating that UFC 249 will go on with or without him (translation via RT Sport):
“We were training at AKA without any information regarding the fight, where and how is it going to happen. Then the UFC told us that the fight 100% isn’t happening in the States. And they said that 99% that it will happen in (United Arab) Emirates, Abu Dhabi. After talking to the UFC we decided to fly over to the Emirates a month before the fight. I don’t remember the exact date, it was 19th or 20th, I’ll have to check. But when we landed in Emirates we learned that they are going to close (the) borders and no one will be able to leave or fly in, with (the) exception of residents. So, we had to fly back to Russia. Currently, I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day, although I don’t know what am I preparing for. Because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked. Same like in the States, same like in Europe, Emirates, everywhere.
The whole world is in quarantine right now. So now I am hearing that they are looking to organize it with or without me. OK, go ahead. Everyone should follow the laws. I am not against it, I know that fighters need to feed their families and pay their bills. I know how hard it is for the fighter. Unless they fight they aren’t getting any money. I am even hearing that they are looking for an opponent for Tony, because he is in the States and I am here in Russia. But I am here not on my own will. The UFC told me that this fight 100% isn’t happening in the USA, and even if it’s not happening in the Emirates it will happen on this side of Atlantic. We discussed everything with the UFC. By that time I already spent five weeks of hard training at AKA. Now I don’t really know what’s going on. It’s really hard to train and cut your weight when the whole world is locked down and you don’t know what you are preparing for. But it’s not the first time I face obstacles in my career.”
This is just the latest in a series of issues surrounding the UFC 249 card, which was forced out of New York due to the coronavirus and now may be without one half of the scheduled main event.
Ferguson would go on Twitter after hearing the news, claiming that Nurmagomedov is hiding in Russia:
April 18 Is Getting Close @TeamKhabib & You’re Hiding In Russia. Travel Bans Will Not Prevent Me From Whoopin’ That Ass. Don’t Use It As An Excuse To Back Out. You Have Been Sent Many Locations, Send Us 1. Still My Bitch #DefendorVacate MF -CSO- ---------- #ufc249 @ufc @danawhite pic.twitter.com/TVQH4mnG2e— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) March 30, 2020
UFC 249 takes place on Saturday, April 18 from a location to be announced with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.