Khabib Nurmagomedov failed to appear for his Friday morning weigh-in after earlier falling ill and requiring hospitalization, scrapping his anticipated interim UFC lightweight title fight against Tony Ferguson.
Russia’s No. 1-rated lightweight Nurmagomedov (24-0) was seeking to stop the nine-fight winning streak of Costa Mesa’s Ferguson (23-3) and boost his effort to land a shot at lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who is on hiatus awaiting the birth of his first child.
Instead, after a prior Nurmagomedov injury and a Ferguson illness scrapped two other prior meetings between the pair, the dominant Russian is out again.
“UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov was transported to Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center [in Las Vegas] Thursday evening due to weight management medical issues. He was treated and has been discharged,” the UFC said in a prepared statement.
“The scheduled interim lightweight championship bout between Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson at UFC 209 has been canceled on the doctor’s recommendation.”
Ferguson weighed in just under the 155-pound lightweight limit earlier Friday morning at 154.5 pounds. He was a minus-160 (less than 2/1) underdog against Nurmagomedov, who dominated his November fight in New York against Michael Johnson and was, for the first time, positioned to have his bout aired live on Russian television.
The issue of weight cutting will certainly again be examined by the UFC following Nurmagomedov’s illness.
Although there were reports former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez was willing to board a flight and fight Ferguson and former lightweight title challenger Nate Diaz is in town, neither option was pursued.