Khabib Nurmagomedov and Vladimir Putin. Photos © Mark J. Rebilas/ YouTube screenshot

Russian government to ban air travel – Could this stop UFC 249?

The global pandemic continues to affect planned sports events

A new travel ban will be implemented in Russia that could very well strand UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov in the country. 

The UFC have worked hard to ensure that future pay-per-view events materialise. The biggest event in question has been UFC 249, where undefeated lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov is slated to defend his title against #1 contender Tony Ferguson. It’s a fight that’s been booked and cancelled four separate times. Due to this, Khabib vs Ferguson is also the most anticipated fight of the year so far. However a travel ban is set to be implemented in Russia, that may jeopardize UFC 249.

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The Russian government announced today that a travel ban will be implemented on all air travel starting Friday the 27th of March. This will be done to help contain the spread of Covid-19. All shops aside from grocery stores and pharmacies will also be shut down starting tomorrow. Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin also announced that all restaurants, cafes and bars will be closing on March 28th.

This could spell doom for UFC 249 as Nurmagomedov is currently in Russia. He left the United States as his home gym AKA was forced to close. As of now, however, there are no official announcements as to where UFC 249 will be held. UFC president Dana White is steadfast in his belief that the event will happen, even to the point of slamming critics of how the UFC have handled the global pandemic.

White is a close friend of US president Donald Trump, which may improve the odds of UFC 249 happening. However as of now any sports plans are apprehensive at best, until concrete information of the whereabouts is released.

Do you think the travel ban in Russia can stop UFC 249?

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