UFC 249 set for Saturday Night
- UFC returns after a break due to the coronavirus pandemic
- Ferguson will take on Gaethje for UFC’s interim lightweight title
- Mental Health and Psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 Pandemic
UFC will make a return on Saturday night after nearly two months of suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The build-up to the event was marred with controversy with UFC President Dana White maintaining that the event would still go on despite the prevalence of the pandemic.
His major hurdle came when undefeated Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was not able to make it to the fight as he found himself stranded in Russia with the country imposing a ban on flight travel.
White would quickly sought to Justin Gaethje to take on Tony Ferguson in Brooklyn on April 18. This would then be curtailed when New York was put on complete lockdown.
A defiant White would then reveal plans of hosting the fight on when he revealed an ambitious plan of ‘having fights every week’ behind closed doors, and that he was in the process of securing a private island on which to stage the bouts.
He would then announce that for April 18 on ESPN plus pay-per-view, he would have the event at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino on tribal land in California’s Central Valley.
All these plans would then be halted when California state officials contacted Disney, parent company of ESPN, and expressed their concerns. ESPN would then inform White that it would not telecast them, forcing the postponement of U.F.C. 249.
Now, the event is set for prime spotlight as the first major US sporting event since the coronavirus shutdown.
Ferguson comes into the fight on the back of 12 straight wins – a UFC lightweight record. He previously held the interim belt after beating Kevin Lee in 2017 before being stripped due to an injury, the Californian now feels his time has come.
This is not for an interim title, this is for the real championship.
A second title bout will headline the event as Bantamweight Champion Henry Cejudo takes on former titleholder Dominick Cruz in his first bout in over three years. Cejudo was originally scheduled to take on Jose Aldo in Brazil in his first action since undergoing shoulder surgery last year. But with many travel restrictions in place and UFC moving the event from Brazil to the U.S., the bout was canceled.
Complete UFC Fight Card
- Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje — Interim lightweight title
- Henry Cejudo (c) Dominick Cruz — bantamweight title
- Francis Ngannou Jair Rozenstruik — Heavyweights
- Calvin Kattar Jeremy Stephens — Featherweights
- Greg Hardy Yorgan De Castro — Heavyweights
- Anthony Pettis Donald Cerrone — Welterweights
- Vicente Luque Niko Price — Welterweights
- Fabricio Werdum Aleksei Oleinik — Heavyweights
- Ronaldo Souza Uriah Hall — Middleweights
- Carla Esparza Michelle Waterson — Women’s strawweights
- Bryce Mitchell Charles Rosa — Featherweights
- Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey — Light heavyweights