For the past few weeks, Dana White has stated UFC 249 will be going on as planned. The UFC President said he is doing whatever it takes to keep the event alive. It appears he is a man of his word, and then some.
In an interview with TMZ Sports, Dana revealed his plan for the event, one that comes straight out of a movie.
Dana stated that he has a secret location set for UFC 249, set to take place on April 18. He will not tell anyone, including the fighters, where the location is. This is similar to Chael Sonnen’s Submission Underground 12, which took place as planned a few weeks ago. Dana is hoping to “pump out fights” every week at this secure location, and will be home to several fighters not barred from traveling internationally as a result of regulations by the United States and other countries.
White has a plan in mind for those who can’t enter the United States: a private island. Also an unknown location, the island will be available for fight nights at a moments notice.
“I locked this venue (that will host UFC 249) for two months. I have this venue… and we’re setting up shop here,” White stated. “We’re going to be pumping out fights every week. I’m also a day or two away from securing a private island. I have a private island that I’ve secured. We’re getting the infrastructural put in now, so I’m going to start doing the international fights, too, with the international fighters.
“As of April 18, the UFC is back up and running.”
It is rumored that UFC 249 will be taking place somewhere on the West Coast. This continues an ongoing game to ensure events will happen. UFC 249 was set for inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center at one point. The Nevada, New York and California Athletic Commissions have all barred combat sports from taking place, while several other states have ensured that fights were not going to happen.
One of the main concerns when it comes to the UFC and upcoming fights has been the health and safety of the fighters. The UFC has already had to cancel three events as a result. White hasn’t provided much information when it comes to safety, but did open up with TMZ about what they plan on doing.
“Everybody is going to be pre-tested and tested and tested,” White went on to say. “We’re going to make sure that 100% healthy athletes, healthy athletic commission people, healthy judges, referees, my production people, that everyone there is healthy. We’re going to make sure that everybody is safe before, during and after the fights.”
White has managed to find a loophole during the pandemic. Speaking with ESPN a few weeks ago, White was extremely confident in his ability to keep UFC 249 afloat.
“Unless there’s a total shutdown of the country, where people can’t leave their houses and things like that, these fights will happen,” White said. “We’re gonna move on. These fights will happen. These guys will compete. We will find venues, and we will figure this thing out. I mean, the only thing that’s gonna stop us is a complete government shutdown, where everybody is confined to their homes.”
The UFC also announced the full card for UFC 249. Several fighters from various cancelled events were included onto it. The main event will be Tony Ferguson v. Justin Gaethje for the UFC interim Lightweight Title. This comes after UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov returned to Russia to quarantine, citing a lack of location for the event a main reason why. Forced to cancel the Khabib-Ferguson matchup for the fifth time, Dana does not hold any ill will over the Russian.
“It is not Khabib’s fault,” White said. “It’s not anybody’s fault. This is not something you can prepare for, plan for or anybody can dream this is possible. Las Vegas is shut down, no casinos are open for a month or maybe more. I never thought I would see that in my lifetime.”
We have seen that a lot can happen in two weeks. For now, however, UFC 249 is fully operational and ready to take over.