Dana White has pulled some strings to ensure UFC 249 takes place, securing the Tachi Palace Resort Casino in tribal land located in California.
The UFC vs. COVID-19 battle has been a fascinating one in recent days. Dana White, the president of the promotion, is insistent on running as many fights as possible despite the global pandemic. This is certainly financially motivated, as the UFC will get a full payment of $750 million from Disney if they run the minimum number of contracted events in 2020, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The first step in that saga was finding a secure location for UFC 249, which is set to take place in just 11 days. Rumors circulated that White had found a place on the west coast that was a willing partner. The Tachi Palace Resort Casino, which closed on March 20 due to the coronavirus, is that place. California’s stay-at-home orders don’t affect the casino due to it being located on tribal lands.
The next hurdle to leap was how to get international fighters in action due to travel bans around the globe. White is circumventing the government again to remedy this, attempting to buy a private island to host fights. “The show must go on,” as they say.
UFC 249 is a surprisingly stacked card given the circumstances. The headlining bout puts the interim lightweight title on the line between fan favorites Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is unable to leave his home country of Russia. Other notable bouts include a strawweight rematch in the co-main event between former champions Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade. Heavyweight sluggers Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik headline the prelims, and a jiu-jitsu dream match between Jacare Souza and Ryan Hall is scheduled as well.