Details are slowly emerging regarding Khabib Nurmagomedov’s disappointing last second removal from this weekend’s UFC 209 event. Khabib was taken to a hospital early Friday in the hours leading up to the official morning weigh-ins (the UFC does a separate ‘ceremonial’ weigh-in for fans in the evening), and the UFC announced the fight was off hours later. Something clearly went wrong with Khabib’s weight cut, but what?
UFC president Dana White doesn’t have more details, but he is sharing his opinion that the fight could have been saved if Nurmagomedov’s team had brought Khabib to the UFC doctor rather than some ‘random’ hospital.
“Basically, his team had decided to take him to just some random hospital here in Las Vegas instead of picking up the phone and calling our doctor and calling Brianna [Mattison], who runs all the medicals,” White said at the weigh-ins. “They went rogue and went out and did their own thing. Had they done this thing the right way, the fight probably could have been saved.”
What’s the difference between your average doctor and a UFC doctor? The UFC’s doctor probably knows a lot more about dehydration and how to treat it, as well as the specifics behind what is and isn’t allowed by USADA to treat it. The first thing your average fighter does to treat dehydration is put an IV with saline into the person. That’s pretty much game over for a fight, not only because a fighter won’t make weight, but because USADA rules prohibit the use of IVs, with serious consequences if you use one without their permission.
Who knows if the UFC’s medical staff could have done something else to save the fight. Maybe they could have just switched the fight to a non interim lightweight title fight and gone from there. We’re sure Tony Ferguson would have been happy taking a nice chunk of Khabib’s paycheck rather than sitting on the sidelines like he is now. But we’ll never know, because Khabib’s team never called the UFC to get options.