After news broke of UFC 249’s postponement. Khabib’s Russian manager Rizvan Magomedov hit out at those critics with a sarcastic post on his Instagram story, asking fans, “Where do you need to fly now?

“When you find a flight, don’t forget to call Putin.”

The message was a clear jab at the fans – and the fighters – who took to social media to criticize Nurmagomedov after he found himself stranded in Dagestan due to the tightened travel restrictions in Russia.

Some people mistakenly believed that, because Khabib had met with Putin previously and is believed to have good relations with the Russian premier, that somehow the Russian government could make an exception for the UFC champion and allow him to break the travel ban in Russia in order to fly out to compete.

Those critics included Khabib’s scheduled opponent, Tony Ferguson, who said “The Eagle” was “hiding in Russia;” and Conor McGregor, who called his nemesis a “chicken.”

His scheduled lightweight title defense against Ferguson has now been booked, and canceled, FIVE times, with fans suggesting the matchup is cursed.

The UFC attempted to move on without Khabib as they booked Justin Gaethje to take on Ferguson in an interim title fight in a new main event, and the show was moved to an undisclosed location, which was subsequently revealed to be the Tachi Palace Casino near Fresno, California, which is situated on tribal land and therefore not governed by state regulation.

However, despite compiling a stacked fight card for the rearranged show, the UFC eventually pulled the plug on the event after top-level officials from ESPN and Disney asked UFC president Dana White to stand down from hosting the event.

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