Conor McGregor has accused his bitter rival Khabib Nurmagomedov of "chickening out" of his proposed UFC lightweight title defence against Tony Ferguson later this month.
Nurmagomedov made the announcement on Wednesday that he had returned to his native Dagestan and ruled out breaking the coronavirus quarantine to compete at UFC 249 on April 18.
UFC president Dana White has insisted the show will go ahead despite the global pandemic forcing the event to be moved from Brooklyn because of the partial US shutdown in response to the virus.
McGregor took to Twitter to reference the bizarre history of Nurmagomedov-Ferguson, with the two yet to meet in the octagon despite being booked to fight on five separate occasions since December 2015.
The previous four cancellations have been because of health or fitness concerns.
"The fact of this matter is, both Tony and Khabib where engaged in a game of chicken here towards the fight bell," McGregor said.
"With Khabib chickening out first. Making it 3-2 in pullouts in Tony's favour. Khab scurried out of the U.S to home, and amid the crisis. Very high risk. Congrats Tony."
The Irishman returned to UFC in January by stopping American veteran Donald Cerrone in his first bout since defeat to Nurmagomedov in October 2018.
The fact of this matter is, both Tony and Khabib where engaged in a game of chicken here towards the fight bell. With Khabib chickening out first. Making it 3-2 in pullouts in Tony’s favour. Khab scurried out of the U.S to home, and amid the crisis. Very high risk.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 2, 2020
McGregor had planned to be more active in 2020 but admitted his relief he did not have a fight scheduled before the Covid-19 outbreak, as he hinted he would have ignored the seriousness of the situation.
He added: "I am in shape to fight right now! At the beginning of all this, I said to myself - I'm happy I don't have an official fight booked.
"If I did, I would have consumed all the incorrect data to support me taking part in the bout, and I would have followed through, competed. And won."