For the third time, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson has been cancelled, although this time it went right down to the wire.
Reports emerged early on Friday from a Russian media outlet that Khabib Nurmagomedov fell ill and was taken to hospital, and those reports have since been confirmed by Ariel Helwani who has revealed that at around 5.30am Khabib fainted due to complications with his weight cut and was taken to a nearby Las Vegas hospital.
The news broke when Khabib had roughly 90 minutes to weigh in, and resulted in a nervous wait to see if he would show up, but the time to weigh in has since elapsed without the #1 contender in the lightweight division.
Tony Ferguson successfully weighed in before the news came to light.
— MMAjunkie (@MMAjunkie) March 3, 2017
While this is immensely frustrating, not just because of how exciting this fight promised to be but because it is the third time this has happened, the health of the fighter in question is the most important thing. Hopefully Khabib's illness is not too serious and we can reschedule this enticing bout for another event.
The UFC have since released a statement on the situation:
UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov was transported to Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center Thursday evening due to weight management medical issues. He was treated and has been discharged, UFC officials confirmed.
The scheduled interim lightweight championship bout between Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson at UFC 209 has been cancelled on the doctor’s recommendation.
UFC 209 emanates from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Saturday night live on Pay-Per-View at 10pm/7pm ETPT. Tyron Woodley takes on Stephen Thompson with his welterweight championship on the line in a rematch from their 2016 Fight of the Year contender at UFC 205.
While highly unlikely, we may see Tony Ferguson handed a late change of opponent, and a number of fighters have thrown their names into the hat.
First, the coach of Lando Vanatta, who Ferguson defeated in July of last year in a seriously entertaining fight, suggested that Groovy Lando was fit and ready to go:
If Khabib can't make it to weigh in's, I know a lightweight that would love a rematch against Ferguson. ?
— Brandon Gibson (@SixGunGibson) March 3, 2017
And more surprisingly, Eddie Alvarez has claimed that he is ready to step in despite being 30 lbs heavier than Ferguson was this morning:
I'm a fit trim 185 lb today !! let's work something out show Me the $$$$$$ ill catch a flight ????????????
— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) March 3, 2017
That is very unlikely to happen, but we will keep you up to date with any further developments as we get them.