Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Coach Responds To Backlash Khabib Nurmagomedov Faced During UFC 249 Ordeal

Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s coach Javier Mendez is defending his fighter following the backlash he’s received.

Nurmagomedov was originally scheduled to put his lightweight title on the line against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249. The card was set to take place on April 18. Nurmagomedov ended up being stuck in Russia due to a travel ban. While “The Eagle” insisted he could’ve found a loophole if he was given a location, the UFC was planning to move on without him.

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The UFC turned to Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title but ultimately, UFC 249 was postponed. Nurmagomedov took some heat from fight fans over flying to Russia. During a fan Q&A, Javier Mendez fired back (h/t MMAFighting.com).

“He didn’t choose to sit it out,” Mendez said during a fan Q&A on YouTube. “He just went back home and he was waiting and training and waiting for a location. So he didn’t choose to sit out anything. They couldn’t give him a location and then he couldn’t get permission. He wasn’t gonna be able to get permission, so he didn’t really sit anything out. He didn’t get permission and he didn’t get the location and now we know why he didn’t get the location because of fear of it leaking out. Because it leaked out, now look, there is no show.

“He did absolutely the right thing when he was told to go to Abu Dhabi because the show more likely was going to be there, and then he would go home from there if that didn’t work out, but that was the plan, and then train at home and then see what happens.”

Nurmagomedov has explained that he flew out to Dubai when he was told UFC 249 was almost a lock for Abu Dhabi. Upon being told that Dubai was going under a lockdown, he flew to Russia. When he landed, the 155-pound king was then told Russia was going under a lockdown as well.

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