Yesterday UFC President Dana White said UFC249 will take place as scheduled on April 18th, and that no fans will be in attendance.
Originally scheduled to take place at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn New York but due to the State of New York shutting down all events until further notice, the card is on the move.
With that announcement he also stated that he has a location, he just didn’t feel like telling any of us yet where that location is.
The logistics of putting a card together is always a challenge. This card, however, faces more of a challenge than normal because of travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic facing the world today.
The front runner to host this event has been Abu Dhabi.
Also in the running to host this event is Oklahoma City on an Indian reservation, the same one that was to host Woodley versus Edwards after that card was moved from London, but eventually was canceled because of last minute logistical issues getting everybody to the location in Oklahoma City.
The dark horse candidate to host what may end up being one of the greatest fights in the history of the organization would be the state of Florida. This past Saturday night, regional promotion Combat Night held an event in Jacksonville Florida with no fans in attendance and fully sanctioned by the Florida State Boxing Commission who stated that until the government shuts it down, they will continue to go forward with business as usual.
As I stated above the logistics of putting together a card anywhere in the world is always a challenge. Making travel arrangements to get fighters and their corners, officials, the UFC team, and production services to a location can sometimes be difficult to say the very least. Add in a worldwide pandemic to the equation and the task becomes even more difficult.
Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov who had been training here in the United States at American Kickboxing Academy has returned home to Russia to continue training for his main event title defense against Tony Ferguson, which to me seems to be an indicator that this event will take place outside the United States and more than likely land in Abu Dhabi. Getting him back to the United States would probably be one of the more difficult things to accomplish as of today, not saying that it’s impossible, just difficult.
This card has 12 scheduled fights with 7 of the 24 athletes living outside of the United States, and 4 of those athletes are from the same region of the world as champion Nurmagomedov. It would seem to make sense to host the card here in the United States because of the logistics. Bringing 7 people here versus trying to bring 17 people somewhere else would, In theory, be easier to achieve. Again, that’s just the athletes. Doing the show here in the United States would make it much easier on the promotion to take care of all the other things that need to happen for an event to take place as this is where the promotion is based out of.
At the end of the day, I don’t think the fighters, or the fans of the sport care where this event happens to take place, as long as it happens that’s what they are worried about.
Abu Dhabi, Oklahoma City, or someplace in the state of Florida, 3 completely different locations that are all willing and able to host this event. Now UFC President Dana White just needs to as Nurmagomedov famously says, “send location”!
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.