Dana White tells Kevin Iole that Khabib/Ferguson is still happening on April 18. pic.twitter.com/nDC3GNcwbn— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) March 23, 2020
UFC 249 has a location, but Dana White isn’t ready to reveal all the details just yet.
“I do [know where it is],” White said in an Instagram Live interview with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole. “But I’m not ready to tell you yet. I know lots of things. … There’s not going to be any fans there. It’s going to be a closed event.”
UFC 249 takes place on April 18 and features a lightweight championship showdown between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Uncertainty has surrounded the card since the coronavirus outbreak forced the promotion to postpone events slated for March 21, March 28 and April 11. UFC 249 was originally slated for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., but that New York State Athletic Commission officially nixed those plans last week.
Despite the ongoing threat of a worldwide pandemic, White has repeatedly stated that UFC 249 will proceed as planned. The UFC president also continues to insist that the promotion is more well-versed in safety precautions than other businesses.
“Everybody who is going to be involved in this thing is going to be because they want to be, not because they have to be or they have to do anything,” White said. “Believe me: We didn’t just start thinking about safety when the coronavirus popped up. Health and safety, these are things that normal businesses that are out there right now don’t necessarily have to think about on a daily basis. Healthy and safety is something we’ve been doing long before the coronavirus and we’ll be doing it long after the coronavirus is gone. This is just normal s—t for us.”
As of Monday, there were more than 370,000 active cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 16,000 deaths. That includes more than 40,000 cases in the United States, which has limited gatherings and restricted travel. If UFC 249 is held overseas, travel could be an issue for many of the fighters expected to compete on the card. White said that working through such issues is par for the course.
”Obviously, every time we put on an event every weekend, there’s all kinds of problems, logistically, and tons of different things happen,” he said. “We figure it out. That’s what we do. That’s the business we’re in. We’ve been doing it for 20 years. We’re the best at it. That fight will happen on that date, on pay-per-view, and the whole world will get to watch it.”