The UFC is looking to get back in action very soon. On Friday, UFC president Dan White told ESPN he has scheduled three events in Florida within an eight-day period. The first event, UFC 249, will be held on May 9. There will be another UFC event on May 13 and one on May 16. All three fight cards will take place at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville with no fans in attendance.
"They want to fight. People are hitting us up and want to fight," White said to ESPN on Instagram Live. "We're putting together three cards in a week. People who want to fight are going to get fights." The main event of UFC 249 will be Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight championship. There will also be 10 additional fights on the card including a bantamweight title bout between Henry Cejudo and Dominick Cruz.
"Sports play an important role in people's lives and can bring moments of escape in challenging times," ESPN said in a statement. "We look forward to bringing UFC to fans again." White also told ESPN there will be an event on May 23, but the location of the place was not announced. And he's still looking to have a "fight island" where international bouts will take place, starting in June. No fans will be allowed for those events either.
The reason UFC is holding events in Florida it is considered an essential business. This is the same situation with WWE, as they have all of their events in Orlando, including WrestleMania, which took place earlier this month. If the events do happen, UFC will be the first major sporting event to return since the coronavirus pandemic began last month.
"As we move step-by-step on the path toward economic recovery, we are proud to host these UFC events," Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said in a statement. "The UFC organization is a renowned entertainment brand that's presented a safe and sensible plan to use this Jacksonville location, and we are thrilled to have our city highlighted nationally on ESPN and ESPN+."
UFC 249 was originally scheduled to take place in Brooklyn on April 18. When it was postponed, White attempted to have it at a different location, specifically in California. However, Disney told UFC to not move on with the event.