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ABC: UFC 249 will be sanctioned event

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Dana White
Dana White
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC 249 will be a sanctioned event after all, according to The Association of Boxing Commission and Combative Sports.

On Tuesday, the ABC released a statement to The MMA Report in regards to UFC 249 reportedly taking place on tribal land at Tachi Palace Resort Casino, expressing the board of directors’ concerns about the event taking place during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, the statement revealed that the event would be considered non-sanctioned.

“The ABC concurs with the Association of Ringside Physicians that it’s a very trying time for the entire world,” the statement reads. “Fighter safety is paramount. If the fight occurs, it will be considered a non-sanctioned event since a state/tribal commission will not be present.”

MMA Fighting contacted ABC president Brian Dunn on Thursday to follow up on where things currently stand. After further conversations with the UFC, Dunn revealed that the event will be listed as a sanctioned event after all.

“After speaking with UFC officials, the ABC board of directors determined this event could be listed as sanctioned,” Dunn told 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.”

Because the event will be be listed as sanctioned, Dunn confirmed that “there will be no sanctions imposed by the ABC for any athletes or officials involved in the event.” He also stated that UFC officials offered to share the additional medical testing done for the athletes.

“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.”

On Monday, UFC president Dana White confirmed that wherever UFC 249 takes place— which all signs point to Tachi Palace in California— the promotion will hold weekly events from April 18 through the “next two months.” In addition, White said that he is in negotiations to secure a private island to host events featuring international fighters who can’t travel to the U.S.

When asked about if subsequent events would be deemed sanctioned, Dunn confirmed that they would — including the international cards.

“If the UFC continues to properly regulate future events, which I am sure they will, future events will be treated the same,” Dunn explained. “We would treat events held on mystery islands the same as well.”

UFC 249 is headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.