Jacksonville Arena To Reportedly Host UFC 249 On May 9
A few weeks out from the newly-named UFC 249, it appears we have our location for the event.
It was previously announced that the event on May 9 would be taking place in Florida. According to Dave Meltzer on the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Jacksonville will be the destination, with the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena holding the fights. The UFC has yet to make the announcement official.
If true, this would be the third venue to attempt to hold an event called UFC 249. Originally meant for Brooklyn on April 18, the New York Athletic Commission denied the UFC entry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. UFC President Dana White was then planning to have events inside Tachi Palace, a Native American casino in Lemoore, California. Plans changed when the event was postponed following California Governor Gavin Newsom directly calling Disney officials to halt all operations.
There were thoughts on the APEX Center in Nevada being a possible location, but the Nevada Athletic Commission has yet to lift its ban on combat sports taking place in the state.
Florida is one of the only states that will allow events to take place. Just recently, WWE was deemed an “essential business” in Florida, per Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings after a ruling by Governor Ron DeSantis. This is only if they didn’t have any fans at these events. The state is currently abiding by a shelter-in-place ruling.
Debuting in 2003, the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena can hold up to 15,000 fans. The current tenants are the Jacksonville Icemen of the ECHL and the Jacksonville Sharks of the AFL.
UFC 249 was originally supposed to feature UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov v. Tony Ferguson. Nurmagomedov backed out of UFC 249 to quarantine, forcing his fight with Ferguson to be postponed again. As a result, Justin Gaethje ended up being the next man up, as he and Ferguson will fight for the interim Lightweight Title.
Here is the rumored card for the event:
- Tony Ferguson v. Justin Gaethje – Interim UFC Lightweight Title
- Henry Cejudo (c) v. Dominick Cruz – UFC Bantamweight Title
- **Amanda Nunes (c) v. Felicia Spencer – UFC Featherweight Title**
- Francis Ngannou v. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
- Calvin Kattar v. Jeremy Stephens
- Donald Cerrone v. Anthony Pettis
- Greg Hardy v. Yorgan De Castro
- Aleksei Oleinik v. Fabricio Werdum
- Carla Esparza v. Michelle Waterson
- Ronaldo Souza v. Uriah Hall
- Niko Price v. Vicente Luque
- Bryce Mitchell v. Charles Rosa
**Nunes will no longer be competing at the event