UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov isn't to blame for the cancellation of his title fight against Tony Ferguson, according to UFC president Dana White.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson were scheduled to meet in the UFC 249 main event April 18, but "The Eagle" returned home to Russia and is now stuck there due to travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The reality is, that's nobody's fault," White told ESPN's Brett Okamoto on Monday. "(Nurmagomedov) got caught up in Russia. It was a total mishap. We all made mistakes in that one. Nobody's to blame for that. It is what it is."
Nurmagomedov faced a lot of criticism from fans after officially withdrawing from the event last week, but White said the champion "didn't do anything wrong."
"If you look at the way the world changed, literally by the day, we got caught up, man," White said. "He ended up getting flown back to Russia. He didn't fly back to Russia. He got flown back to Russia. It sucks, but what are you gonna do?"
With Nurmagomedov off the card, top contender Justin Gaethje stepped up to face Ferguson on short notice. They will meet for the interim lightweight title at a yet-to-be-announced location.