UFC President Dana White laid out plans for UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje on May 9, as well as Fight Night events on May 13 and May 16 for Jacksonville, Fla. He then added that he was also shooting for a May 23 event, but said that would not happen in Florida, but didn't give a location.
On Wednesday, White told Barstool Sports that he is hoping to be back in Las Vegas for an event on May 23.
The UFC's home state his given no public inkling that it will allow combat sports to re-open by that time. White of course is in higher level conversations about such things than most of the rest of us. After all, he is part of U.S. President Donald Trump's task force on restarting the country's economy.
“I’m shooting for the 23rd,” he explained. “So we’ll do four fights in two weeks (May 9, 13, 16, and 23). Contender Series will happen too.”
White is currently working to make a fight between former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns to headline the May 23 fight card.
Though the Apex wasn't built in anticipation of a pandemic, it is tailor made for such a thing. It is a state-of-the-art broadcast facility that was created to host smaller fighting events with all the necessary production equipment, particularly for closed door events like Dana White's Contender Series and The Ultimate Fighter.
Why is UFC 249 taking place in Florida
It is currently on ice because of coronavirus crisis related restrictions in Nevada. That is the main reason why the UFC is headed to Florida this week for UFC 249. That and the fact that state officials are working with the UFC to have them operate a successful event as they look to get professional sports back in motion.
"It was more about the governor and the mayor and the athletic commission (in Florida) working with us. We can do this and we can do this safely. We're willing to spend the money it's gonna cost to make this is as safe as it can possibly be. I want politicians and athletic commissions that are going to work with us, not try to work against us," said White, who still fully intends to also host events on a hastily built Fight Island as soon as June.
“Mid-June, if we can get all the infrastructure done by mid-June, I would love to do a fight that weekend that the place is completed. If not, we’ll look at the end of June (for Fight Island)," White said in updating the status of his host location for international fighters that are unable to gain access to the United States.
“We were supposed to do a fight in Brazil, we got a fight that we were supposed to do in Kazakhstan, we got a fight that we were supposed to do in Perth, Australia, so all these fights would now move to Fight Island.”
For now, however, White isn't keen on looking much beyond May. He wants to make sure that UFC 249 and its follow-up events on May 13 and May 16 go off without a hitch, so that he can bring things home to Las Vegas and continue on in this new normal for his company.
"We're looking to get next week done and that's it. Next week, I'd like to go the 23rd in the Apex, other than that, we're not even thinking about anything else right now. Making sure we can pull off next week as safely as we can do it."
Dana White talks UFC 249 and bringing fights back to Las Vegas
(Video courtesy of Barstool Sports)