UFC President Dana White has been adamant that UFC 249 will happen on May 9. On Friday, White revealed that UFC 249 would be the first of three events that will take place in an eight-day span.
“We’re gonna go three shows in a week. We’re back May 9. We should be back on schedule in June.”
After confirming UFC 249 would take place as he intended on May 9, White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto on Instagram that would be followed by events on Wednesday, May 13, and Saturday, May 16, making three events in eight days. He later added that a fourth event would take place on May 23.
White confirmed that UFC 249 on May 9 on the following two events would take place as many expected in Florida, but would not reveal the locations of any further events.
He did say that Fight Island is still in the works and should be operational by June. When Fight Island is ready, White intends to hold international fights there.
“Fight Island should be up and running by June so I can start running international events in June,” said White.
“From May 9 to May 23, we’ll knock out four shows. Then in June we can start doing international stuff too on the island. All the infrastructure is gonna be built for the UFC to come and run fights there.”
Once the UFC hits June, White is hopeful that the company can get back on schedule and run the rest of its scheduled events for the year on the dates they already had planned. Locations are obviously up in the air, as is the return to having fans in attendance, depending upon how the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold in the months ahead.
Though White has been heavily criticized by many for trying to get his company back up and running, he again insisted that the UFC is doing everything within its power to make sure fighters, staff, and anyone involved safe.
“We’re goonna spend a ton of money to make sure that everybody is safe. We’re gonna do everything in our power to make sure everybody is safe and healthy. And not just the fighters, the commission, the referees, the employees, everybody.”
Shortly following White’s interview, UFC officials released the following Press Release:
UFC returns with one of the most stacked cards in recent history, set to be headlined by a bout guaranteed to deliver fireworks as No. 1 ranked lightweight contender Tony Ferguson and No. 4 ranked Justin Gaethje battle for the interim championship. In the co-main event, Henry Cejudo intends to prove that he is the greatest UFC bantamweight champion of all time as he looks to defeat multiple-time title holder Dominick Cruz. This will be the first of three events taking place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on May 9, 13 and 16 respectively, future cards will be announced at a later date. These events will be closed to the public and will be produced with only essential personnel in attendance.
UFC 249: FERGUSON vs. GAETHJE will take place Saturday, May 9 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. All prelim bouts will be simulcast on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ in English and Spanish beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET with the UFC Fight Pass prelims. The prelims will continue exclusively on ESPN & ESPN+ 8 p.m. ET and the ESPN+ Pay-Per-View main card will kick off at 10 p.m. ET.
“I can’t wait to deliver some great fights for the fans, “said UFC President Dana White. “I want to give a big thanks to Mayor Curry, VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena and Florida State Boxing Commission Executive Director Patrick Cunningham for getting this thing done and giving us a venue to put on these incredible cards, as well our media partners including ESPN and ESPN+, for bringing it to fans. My team is ready to go and the fighters are excited to get back in there with these back-to-back events.”
“As we move step-by-step on the path toward economic recovery, we are proud to host these UFC events at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena,” said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. “The UFC organization is a renowned entertainment brand that’s presented a safe and sensible plan to use this Jacksonville location, and we are thrilled to have our city highlighted nationally on ESPN and ESPN+. With Jacksonville continuing to outpace other cities and regions, we are excited to continue to lead as host to these world-class, international sports entertainment organizations.”
“Florida’s State Commission and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation have been in continued coordination with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to identify options for bringing the UFC to Florida for upcoming events,” said Florida State Boxing Commission Executive Director, Patrick Cunningham. “Florida welcomes the UFC to the Sunshine State, and our commission stands ready to sanction the events to be held on May 9, 13 and 16. Health and safety protocols will be in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all individuals who are helping to make these events possible. With this triple date feature of UFC events coming in May, Florida is continuing to build a strong collaboration with UFC that sets the foundation for more opportunities that we hope UFC will choose to host in our state in the months to come.”
One of the most exciting and unpredictable athletes on the roster, Ferguson (26-3, fighting out of Orange County, Calif.) is on the verge of becoming the first two-time interim lightweight champion in UFC history. Currently on an incredible 12-fight winning streak, Ferguson has defeated the likes of Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis and Rafael Dos Anjos. He now looks to notch his record-setting 13th win in a row and raise UFC gold once again.
Known for his unrelenting fight style, Gaethje (21-2, fighting out of Arvada, Colo.) has earned a post-fight bonus in every single one of his UFC bouts. One of the best knockout artists in the division’s history, Gaethje has earned stoppage wins over Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza and James Vick. He now looks to secure another iconic finish and earn his first UFC championship.
Cejudo (15-2, fighting out of Phoenix, Ariz.) is one of only four athletes in UFC history to hold two championships at the same time. To accomplish this feat, he netted impressive victories Demetrious Johnson, TJ Dillashaw and Marlon Moraes. After recently relinquishing the flyweight belt, Cejudo now plans to reassert his dominance over the bantamweight division by taking out one of its greatest champions.
Returning to action for the first time in three years, Cruz (22-2, fighting out of San Diego, Calif.) intends to prove that he is still the best bantamweight in the world. A former UFC and WEC champion, Cruz holds wins over Urijah Faber, TJ Dillashaw and Demetrious Johnson. He now looks to be the first person to defeat Cejudo at 135-pounds and regain his lost crown.
Additional UFC 249 bouts on the card include:
- No. 2 ranked heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou (14-3, fighting out of Paris, France by way of Batie, Cameroon) meets No. 6 Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0, fighting out of Paramaribo, Suriname) in a battle of KO artists
- In a clash of featherweight contenders, No. 7 ranked Jeremy Stephens (28-17, 1 NC, fighting out of San Diego California by way of Des Moines, Iowa) takes on No. 9 Calvin Kattar (20-4, fighting out of Methuen, Massachusetts)
- Fan favorites meet, as Donald Cerrone (36-14, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) takes on Anthony Pettis (22-10, fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc.) in a welterweight bout
- Greg Hardy (6-2, 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Florida) squares off with undefeated Yorgan De Castro (5-0, fighting out of Fall River, Massachusetts by way of Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde) in an exciting heavyweight bout
- Heavyweight grapplers look to make a statement as Aleksei Oleinik (58-13, fighting out of Moscow, Russia) welcomes back former UFC champion Fabricio Werdum (23-7, fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif.)
- Ryan Spann (17-5, fighting out of Beaumont, Texas) aims to continue his momentum against crafty veteran Sam Alvey (33-13, 1NC, fighting out of Temecula, California)
- Former UFC women’s strawweight champion and No. 7 ranked Carla Esparza (16-6, fighting out of Irvine, Calif.) takes on No. 8 Michelle Waterson (17-7, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.)
- Uriah Hall (16-9, fighting out of Queens, New York) goes for his third straight win against decorated grappler Jacare Souza (26-8, 1NC, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
- Welterweight finishers collide when No. 13 ranked contender Vicente Luque (17-7-1, fighting out of Westwood, New Jersey by way of Brasilia, Brazil) faces Niko Price (14-3, 1NC, fighting out of Cape Coral, Florida)
- Exciting featherweight grapplers go to war as Bryce Mitchell (12-1, fighting out of Sherwood, Ark.) meets Charles Rosa (12-3, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.)