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Sportsbook Heartbreak Hours Before 209

Friday afternoon brought some disheartening news to online UFC betting fans. It’s all too common seeing a highly-anticipated fight fall apart weeks before the scheduled event due to an injury, but seeing one get canceled less than 48 hours from the start of the event is even worse. In the end, there’s nothing sportsbook players can do but get over the grief and hope that the UFC reschedules the fight as soon as possible.

“Have fun with that weight cut.”

Those were the words uttered by Tony Ferguson during a photo-shoot for UFC 209. Ferguson was scheduled to face one of the most threatening fighters currently competing for the promotional company, Khabib Nurmagomedov. There’s no beating around the bush, this was the fight those who bet on MMA were looking forward to, and once Nurmagomedov was sidelined, 209 suffered a huge blow overall.

In fact, the online UFC betting publicity and drama created by this interim title fight eclipsed the one of the headlining match of the night; the rematch between Thompson and Woodley. From Nurmagomedov offering Ferguson money out of his own pocket to make the fight happen, to both fighters vehemently stressing the idea that this was a title fight, not an interim title bout – much to the disrespect of current lightweight champion, Conor McGregor, there wasn’t an MMA fan on the planet who hadn’t become involved in this feud.

McGregor has been rather absent from sportsbook headlines recently, and ever since then the talks about the potential boxing match with Floyd Mayweather have died down. However, the fact that Nurmagomedov backed out throws McGregor back into the spotlight.

It’s no secret that the winner of this cancelled match would have faced the Irishman, but McGregor is on record stating censures of Nurmagomedov. Specifically, after McGregor’s historic online UFC betting victory at UFC 205, reporters pressed the dual-champion about a potential fight against the Russian. McGregor didn’t mince words and let the world know exactly how he felt. With the things that have come to light, it’s clear that the lightweight champion knew what he was talking about.

“He don’t fight too frequent for my liking,” McGregor stated during his post-fight interview. “I need to see solid proof that people are gonna show up and he’s a consistent pull out merchant….I need to see activity. I need to see consistency.”

With Nurmagomedov pulling out of the fight just hours before 209 began, McGregor’s comments invoke a sense of irony in all of us. Nurmagomedov was unable to compete due to health complications suffered while trying to make the weight. We’ve covered the pain and suffering some fighters undergo to meet certain weight requirements, and it’s clear that shedding all that water weight did a number on Nurmagomedov’s health.

In the end, due to a doctor’s recommendation, the UFC had no choice to pull the fight. After unexpected complications during weight cutting, Nurmagomedov was rushed to a hospital. Although the fighter recovered, the hospital staff made it clear that he wasn’t in any shape to compete.

So, who’s to blame for this sportsbook cancellation? Well, given Nurmagomedov’s extensive history of backing out of fights, it’s clear the Russian fighter is the culprit.

Making weight is part of the sport, and the UFC has plenty of different divisions for athletes to compete in. If he’s having a hard time making a specific weight, then he should simply move up a class.

Likewise, if Nurmagomedov is adamant about competing at 155 lbs., the fighter should have taken some precautions months before the fight to ensure that the weight cutting would not be that extreme. At the end of the day, it looks like McGregor was right about this one.