LAS VEGAS — Disaster struck UFC 209 on Friday, as the highly-anticipated interim lightweight championship fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson was officially scratched from Saturday’s pay-per-view card.
Nurmagomedov (24-0) was transported to the hospital in the early hours Friday morning after falling ill while cutting weight. The undefeated Dagestani was treated and discharged, according to UFC officials, and the fight was called off due to “doctor’s recommendation.”
Ferguson successfully weighed in at 154.5 pounds.
Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdel-Aziz released the following statement to MMA Fighting on Friday:
“I feel bad for Tony and his camp, I really do.
“The most important thing right now is Khabib’s health. He’s currently resting in his room. We’re not thinking about what’s next at this time.
“I want to sincerely apologize to Tony, his team, the UFC and the fans. We were all looking forward to this fight very much.”
The unfortunate turn of events on Friday marked the third time that a match-up between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson has failed to make it to fight night.
The two lightweights were previously scheduled to meet in 2015 and 2016. The first booking fell through due to an injury suffered by Nurmagomedov, while the second fell through due to an injury suffered by Ferguson.
As a result of the fallout, a fight on UFC 209’s undercard will likely be elevated onto the pay-per-view card.
UFC 209 takes place March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev and is headlined by the Welterweight title fight between Tyron Woodley and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson