Along with Khabib Nurmagomedov now being a scratch for UFC 249 on April 18, it appears that one of the leading locations in the United States for it to take place is not all but out of the picture for potential consideration.
UFC president Dana White has been adamant that nothing short of a complete government ordered shutdown of the United States would stop him from holding UFC 249 in some form or fashion on April 18. As that date draws ever nearer, the restrictions not only across the U.S., but the globe, continue to tighten in response to the global covid-19 pandemic.
A few days ago, the leading U.S. location for UFC 249, according to oddsmakers at BetOnline, had been Florida. Outside the U.S., the United Arab Emirates had been the top choice.
But restrictions are making both of those options highly unlikely. The U.S. has issued a travel advisory dissuading all international travel. There are also some travel advisories now restricting some domestic travel as well.
Florida has acted on its own behalf, instituting border checks and issuing shutdowns across much of the state, particularly in Southern Florida, where the UFC would be most likely to land.
According to Forbes.com:
Travelers arriving from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York or Louisiana must self-isolate for 14 days. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery services. The Florida Keys are closed to visitors. Many cities are under stay-at-home orders, including Aventura, Boca Raton, Coral Gables, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Delray Beach, Doral, Gainesville, Golden Beach, Hollywood, Miami, Miami Beach, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Tampa.
The original UFC 249 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is in shambles. Nurmagomedov traveled home to Russia a few weeks ago and now his country is closed to all international travel, making it all but impossible to fight on April 18.
As of Monday, UFC officials were scrambling and trying to put together a Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje bout as the new main event, while the remainder of the UFC 249 fight card is also in disarray.
White is determined to hold UFC 249 on April 18 in some form or fashion if at all possible, but things are getting more and more difficult by the day.