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UFC 249 gets second life as May 9 event at TBA location

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC’s upcoming return on May 9 has an official title: UFC 249.

That’s not exactly a shock, but the promotion hadn’t actually named the event after announcing its next card would take place on May 9, a date originally reserved for UFC 250 in Brazil.

UFC officials confirmed the plans to MMA Fighting on Tuesday following an initial report from ESPN.

UFC 249 originally was set to take place on April 18 at Tachi Palace Casino Resort on tribal land in Lemoore, Calif. But UFC President Dana White postponed it after the promotion’s broadcast partner ESPN asked him to “stand down” amid reported political pressure from California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Instead of skipping over UFC 249, the promotion has decided to push back the numbered pay-per-view event to keep the current sequence of shows in place, which means UFC 250 will take place at a later date.

In the past, the UFC has cancelled three different pay-per-view cards — UFC 151, UFC 176 and UFC 233 — that never actually took place. Instead of running the numbers back, they skipped them.

UFC 151 was canceled after Dan Henderson suffered an injury and Jon Jones did not ultimately face a replacement opponent. UFC 176 was scratched after Jose Aldo fell out of his scheduled main event against Chad Mendes and the promotion was unable to secure a viable headliner. Finally, UFC 233 was canceled after the UFC couldn’t make a compelling enough main event and the fights originally scheduled for the show were pushed to surrounding events.

That won’t be the case with UFC 249, however, as the organization seems determined to hold this card. Right now, details surrounding the May 9 event remain a mystery, including its location. UFC president Dana White has previously said he hopes to hold several events starting next month at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, but the state of Nevada currently has a ban on all combat sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida is another potential landing spot for the card after Governor Ron DeSantis deemed sports an “essential business” in the state so long as audiences aren’t allowed in attendance.

It’s expected that UFC 249 will be a pay-per-view broadcast on ESPN+ with the broadcast home for the preliminary card still to be determined. The card is currently scheduled to feature an interim lightweight title fight at the top as Tony Ferguson battles Justin Gaethje in the five-round main event.

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