UFC 249 has a new location, and maybe this time it won’t be called off.
MMA Fighting reported on Tuesday that the May 9th pay-per-view is scheduled to take place in Florida, the state that recently deemed professional sports to be an “essential service.” Fighters will reportedly fly into Jacksonville’s airport, but the actual location and venue of the card remains a secret.
This card was originally set for April 18th at Barclays Center in New York, but the coronavirus pandemic made New York an impossibility. They tried to skirt regulations and run the event at Tachi Palace Casino in Lemoore, CA, only for the higher-ups at Disney and ESPN (with a call from Governor Gavin Newsom) to shut it all down.
UFC 249 is supposed to be headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, while the co-main is slated to have men’s bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo take on former champ Dominick Cruz. Amanda Nunes has already said she won’t defend her women’s featherweight crown vs. Felicia Spencer, contrary to initial reports.
By the way, Florida has the 8th most positive COVID-19 cases (and 20th highest cases per million residents) in the United States. Most recent projections suggest that Florida has passed its peak for daily new positive cases and per-day deaths, although there’s no telling what impact the re-opening of beaches and the invitation to hold sporting events in the state could have on any future statistical modeling.