The UFC 209 fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson was the most highly anticipated matchup to begin 2017.
The key word there is was as Nurmagomedov (24-0) has been pulled from the fight and the bout has been canceled.
“UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov was transported to Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center Thursday evening due to weight management medical issues,” the UFC said in a press release. “He was treated and has been discharged, UFC officials confirmed.”
This is the third time Nurmagomedov and Ferguson were supposed to fight.
The Dagestani has had to pull out twice now, the first time being in 2015 due to an injury and Ferguson once in 2016 also due to injury.
“I feel bad for Tony and his camp, I really do,” Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdel Aziz told MMA Fighting. “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.”
Last year, the UFC adopted a weight-cutting policy in which the fighters would have to weigh in between 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. local time. Doing that would give the fighters extra time to rehydrate and compete at optimal performance.
It would appear Ferguson is off the card and possibly missing a payday, but a UFC official told Yahoo Sports, “We’re still working all of that out and will let you know ASAP.”
Due to Nurmagomedov-Ferguson being canceled and Ferguson likely being off the card, an undercard fight is expected to be bumped up to the pay-per-view main card, which begins at 10 p.m. ET.
Except for Nurmagomedov, the other 23 fighters made weight for Saturday’s UFC 209 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main event is Tyron Woodley defending the UFC welterweight title against Stephen Thompson.