The 24-year-old Edinburgh fighter was scheduled to fly to Dubai last Friday morning ahead of Saturday’s showdown with reigning champion, and Frenchman Karim Guerfi, at the exclusive Caesars Palace resort.
However, due to the enforced global travel restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, it is no longer possible to travel to the United Arab Emirates.
As a compromise, McGregor’s promoters MTK Global did offer Guerfi an alternative date of February 19 here in the UK, but the 33-year-old declined the opportunity informing them he wouldn’t be available for the rest of the month due to an issue with his coaching team.
The much-anticipated bout was originally scheduled for November but was pulled after McGregor himself tested positive for Covid-19. A second date of January 22 was then agreed only for the British Boxing Board of Control to suspend professional boxing for four weeks at the turn of the year.
McGregor says his latest setback has left him in limbo with a new date still to be confirmed.
“What can I say really? I’m trying to stay hopeful but with this happening for a third time, it’s hard to believe anything right now. I’m just sick, absolutely sick,” McGregor explained.
“I remember the first time I heard Jazza Dickens testing positive for Covid the day before his fight in September and I remember saying to myself, ‘oh that’s a sore one. I would not like to be in his shoes’. But after having my fight postponed for a third time, I think I am the unluckiest guy in the sport. I’m in a league of my own and will take some beating on that front.
“I’ve been preparing and in camp for this fight since September and it doesn’t bother me the sacrifices I’ve made because I’ve improved so much, but I thought this was it and I would be back home this time next week as the new European champion. I’m honestly devastated, I really am.”
For now, McGregor has returned home to the Capital from his training base in Essex while he weighs up his options. He will now spend the next few days with partner Amber and daughter Maddie before considering a return south of the B order to pick up where he left off with trainer Ben Davison.
“I feel like I’ve been in this camp forever,” the former Meadowbank amateur said. “I thought about staying but when I heard he couldn’t fight in February, I just thought I need to get myself back up the road, see my family and recharge. I actually need to wind down a bit because there’s not much more I can do. It’s more for my mind too, I’ve thought about nothing else for the last six months really since the fight was announced.
“I’m just hoping we can get a date agreed in March so I know where I stand. We’re maybe looking at the middle of the month so that’s still another six or seven weeks away. If I keep going the way I am by the time the fight does come around I’ll be burnt out.”