UFC 249 Will Reportedly Be A Sanctioned Event
At first, it appeared as if UFC 249 would have a black cloud over it. Now, there is some hope, thanks in large part to The Association of Boxing Commission and Combative Sports.
MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck is reporting that UFC 249, scheduled to take place on April 18, will be considered a sanctioned event. This comes after the Association Of Ringside Physicians requested a full stop of combat sports in the wake of the coronavirus. A California-based organization, the urge came from the rumors that UFC 249 would be taking place inside Tachi Palace, a Native American casino in Lemoore, California.
“After speaking with UFC officials, the ABC board of directors determined this event could be listed as sanctioned,” ABC President Brian Dunn stated to MMA Fighting. “When the UFC does international events, they regulate themselves using Nevada Athletic Commission inspectors, and this event on sovereign land is no different.”
While he has remained silent on the matter until a recent interview with TMZ, UFC President Dana White did state that testing would be done for COVID-19 prior to and after fights. Dunn went on to say that the UFC’s statement to them assured everything would be taken care of.
“I was told that in addition to all usual medical testing requirements, they would screen everyone for COVID-19, have additional doctors and had made pre-arrangements with the nearest hospital to assure the immediate treatment of injured athletes.”
The statement has come at an interesting time. In a report from the New York Times, it was discovered that the nearest hospital (by Tachi Palace) for a fighter is 40 minutes away via car. A hospital spokeswoman said they haven’t heard a word from the UFC regarding treating athletes. This comes at a time when Dana stated he would keep the location of the event a secret from even the fighters.
UFC 249 features a main event of Tony Ferguson v. Justin Gaethje for the interim UFC Lightweight Title. The full card has also been released, with a number of fighters appearing from previously-cancelled cards. The main card will air on ESPN+ PPV. If this event is regulated the right way, we could be seeing future events, wherever they may be, treated the same.
This is a different tone compared to just a few weeks ago when the Nevada, New York and California Athletic Commissions all barred combat sports from taking place. With the UFC seemingly in the clear, this is now a wait and see approach.