UFC President Dana White can’t say for certain when the promotion’s schedule will get back on track due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but he promises the highly anticipated fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will go down April 18.
After cancelling their next three shows on March 21, March 28 and April 11 due to warnings about mass gatherings, White vowed that UFC 249 will move forward even if that meant getting creative with a location and venue for the show.
On Wednesday, the New York State Athletic Commission shut down any hope that UFC 249 would take place in Brooklyn as originally scheduled. Still, White is confident that the UFC will eventually find a place to hold the card so Nurmagomedov and Ferguson can finally clash after four previous fights between them were cancelled.
“Khabib and Tony is going to happen,” White told TSN in Canada. “We’re going to figure that out. We’re going to make it happen and then it’s just going to be a matter of how quickly we can get back to being normal.”
Because the coronavirus pandemic has forced governments around the globe to shift plans and issue new orders—sometimes on a daily basis—to slow the spread of the disease, White won’t offer a percentage when asked to play the odds when it comes to the likelihood that UFC 249 will happen on April 18.
White is doing everything possible to secure a new location and venue with every indication that Nurmagomedov and Ferguson will square off almost exactly one month from now.
“Listen, again, 10 days ago I’d have told you things for sure. I don’t know,” White said. “I’m sort of rolling with the punches here and have been since the beginning. I can’t honestly answer that question for you.”
Many sports leagues like the NBA and NHL have suspended play entirely with no promise of when games will resume.
Call it stubborn defiance or perhaps a long record at making the impossible seem possible, but White welcomes the opportunity to prove doubters wrong when it comes to staging UFC 249 during the middle of a global pandemic.
“We’re looking at a lot of different things,” White said. “Listen, if you’re a fan, a media member, whatever you might be, do you want to bet against me? You want to bet that I can’t pull stuff off?
“At some point you stop doubting me I’d imagine but maybe not. We’ll see.”