Kevin Lee, despite his torrid five-fight winning streak, was not the promotion’s first choice.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) tried to book Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov for the upcoming UFC 217 pay-per-view (PPV) event, which takes place on Sat., Nov. 4, 2017 inside Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Unfortunately, “The Eagle” was unable to fly until December, based on a number of issues, including but not limited to his ongoing health problems. I guess it’s better to know now then the day of weigh ins, as was the case at UFC 209.

“Just to clear things up, a fight was offered to Nurmagomedov on Nov. 4 (at UFC 217), and at that point, we were trying to put cards together toward the end of the year,” UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby told UFC commentator Jon Anik (via MMA Junkie). “I was informed that (Nurmagomedov) could not make that date, and he probably wouldn’t be able to fight until at least December, so that left Tony without a dance partner.”

With Lee willing to tango, matchmakers booked his against “El Caucus” for the UFC 216 headliner, which will also be for the interim lightweight title, taking place a week from Saturday night (Oct. 7, 2017) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I guess based on this little tidbit, this recent argument makes a lot more sense.