The scheduled UFC 249 seems to be going ahead on April 18 (April 19 AEDT) as planned. Dana White said on Instagram Live that a new location for a highly anticipated showdown between the lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and number one contender Tony Ferguson has been determined. Yet, UFC President hasn’t named the exact place.
UFC 249 fight card is expected to be available live on pay-per-view. No fans will be in attendance.
“I do [know where], but I’m not ready to tell you yet,” Dana White said. “I know lots of things. There’s not going to be any fans there. It’s going to be a closed event.”
Amid coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic all major sporting and public events have been cancelled worldwide, including three UFC Fight Night events. The most recent show, UFC Brasilia was held behind the closed doors.
Recently, White wasn’t exactly happy with some media covering the sport of MMA, criticizing Ultimate Fighting Championship for not cancelling UFC 249. He reminded that his promotion has been prioritizing health and safety on the daily basis, while every staff member working for the company is still on the job and getting paid.
“Everybody who is going to be involved in this thing is going to be because they want to be, not because they have to be or they have to do anything,” White said. “Believe me, we didn’t just start thinking about safety when the coronavirus popped up. Health and safety, these are things that normal businesses that are out there right now don’t necessarily have to think about on a daily basis. Health and safety is something we’ve been doing long before the coronavirus and we’ll be doing it long after the coronavirus is gone. This is just normal [expletive] for us.”
In addition, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reported (via Twitter) that Dana White confirmed that the location for Khabib vs Ferguson is “99.9 percent done”.
The fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson was previously booked four times, from 2015 to 2018. Each time the contest was cancelled due to weight cut issues and injuries to both competitors.
UFC 249 was originally scheduled to take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The venue accommodating Khabib vs Ferguson is expected to be named shortly.