‘What if Khabib has the corona?’ Joe Rogan rules himself out of 'cursed' UFC 249 superfight
Commentator Joe Rogan is a UFC mainstay but even he isn’t taking any chances during the Covid-19 pandemic, ruling himself out of duties at the UFC 249 showdown between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
UFC boss Dana White is desperately scrambling to find a location for the April 18 card after the original venue of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, was ruled out along with multiple other options as the world went into a coronavirus-induced lockdown.
White remains adamant that the fight – which has been cancelled four times previously – will go ahead, claiming that he is 99 percent certain of a venue, although without revealing exactly where he has in mind.
Khabib, meanwhile, has returned to his native Dagestan from the US and in recent days has hinted at his doubts that the fight will happen on the stated date.
There is also the issue of Ramadan starting on April 23, and during which the devout Muslim UFC lightweight champ would not contemplate fighting.
Now UFC commentator Rogan has said again that the Khabib versus Ferguson fight is “cursed” and that whoever is on commentary duties for the bout, it won’t be him.
“The UFC is talking about putting on a fight on April 18. I don’t know how they’re going to do that. I don’t know if they’re going be able to do that in the United States,” Rogan said on his popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
“They’re talking about doing it in a place with less than 10 people, just in an open arena.
“I guess someone’s going to commentate it, it’s not going to be me…
“It doesn’t have to be a big place, it could be like a film studio somewhere,” he added.
“The thing is, how are they going to make sure nobody has it?
“You’re going to have to test everybody. And if someone has it, do you let them fight?
“What if they have it, and they’re like [actor] Idris Elba, and they have no symptoms, but they’ve got the corona?
“What if Khabib has the corona? Or what if Tony has the corona? Does Khabib even fight him?”
“This fight is so cursed,” Rogan said.
“This is how Dana feels. This is why Dana’s trying so hard to make it happen, even if there’s only 10 people in the room.”
In recent days other alternatives have been suggested for the bout, which pits unbeaten lightweight champ Khabib against Ferguson – a man undefeated in seven years and on a 12-fight win streak.
Russia’s Chechnaya is one such location doing the rumor rounds, which would at least involve a short travel distance for the champ himself but slightly more of a trek for Ferguson and other UFC fighters, should the card be held in its entirety.
If Dana White does manage to pull off the increasingly improbable feat of staging the fight on the stated date then one thing’s for sure, we won’t be hearing the distinctive tones of Joe Rogan behind the microphone.