All along, this writer has had an inclination that as far as the order of sports to return from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ultimate Fighting Championship would be first back.
That inclination proved to be positive on Monday when a reconstructed card that will make up the April 18 UFC 249 event on ESPN+ pay-per-view was announced, highlighted by the Interim Lightweight championship fight between No. 1 contender Tony Ferguson (26-3) and No. 4 contender Justin Gaethje (21-1) in the main event.
UFC President Dana White remained silent as far as the host city and host venue of the show, only saying that the event would take place “somewhere on Earth.”
Specifically, UFC 249, as well as all subsequent UFC cards through June, will be held at this undisclosed location.
White also says he’s secured an island for international UFC events, saying to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto:
“I’ve got an island. The infrastructure is being built right now. We’re going to do all of our international fights on this island. So when we do this fight April 18, international and in the United States, we’re going to start cranking. The UFC will be back up and running, internationally and here in the States.”
“We’re going to get the fighters somewhere, and we’re going to bring them to this location. They won’t know where they’re headed to.”@danawhite explains the logistics of how fighters will be transported to the site of #UFC249, as well as the soon-to-be-secured private island. pic.twitter.com/KMPGZ0qc9Q
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 7, 2020
As has been the case with previous MMA events that have been held against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, these future UFC events will be held without crowds in attendance.
White’s plan may have hit a snag, however, as the Association of Ringside Physicians championed a ban on live combat sports events, including the UFC, saying:
“Any combat sport taking place during this global pandemic places the athletes, officials, and anyone else involved in the event under unnecessary risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19. In addition, combat sports athletes often require medical attention after a bout, and we do not wish to see any additional strain on an already overwhelmed medical system.”
Armchair will keep you apprised of the latest information on this situation.
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