UFC 249 is back on, this time in the Sunshine State.
UFC president Dana White confirmed today that UFC 249 will host 12 fights from the friendly confines of VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
“I can’t wait to deliver some great fights for the fans,” UFC president Dana White in an online statement. “I want to give a big thanks to Mayor Curry, VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena and Florida State Boxing Commission executive director Patrick Cunningham for getting this thing done and giving us a venue to put on these incredible cards, as well as our media partners including ESPN and ESPN+, for bringing it to fans. My team is ready to go, and the fighters are excited to get back in there with these back-to-back events.”
Attempts were previously made to hold UFC 249 in California tribal land on April 18, but calls from Disney executives and words from the California State Athletic Commission and local senator Dianne Fienstein forced White to pull the card on April 9.
White previously pledged to return to the Tachi Palace Casino Resort with a card once business is open there.
Meanwhile, the willingness of Florida to deem the WWE an essential business and allow the company to hold Wrestlemania 36, attracted the UFC to move its operations there.
“As we move step-by-step on the path toward economic recovery, we are proud to host these UFC events at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry added. “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+. With Jacksonville continuing to outpace other cities and regions, we are excited to continue to lead as host to these world-class, international sports entertainment organizations.”
The FSBC will require the UFC to ensure all health and safety protocols with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic are followed.
“Florida’s State Commission and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation have been in continued coordination with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to identify options for bringing the UFC to Florida for upcoming events,” said FSBC executive director, Patrick Cunningham detailed. “Florida welcomes the UFC to the Sunshine State, and our commission stands ready to sanction the events to be held on May 9, 13 and 16. Health and safety protocols will be in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all individuals who are helping to make these events possible. With this triple date feature of UFC events coming in May, Florida is continuing to build a strong collaboration with UFC that sets the foundation for more opportunities that we hope UFC will choose to host in our state in the months to come.”
The UFC 249 Fight Pass prelims are scheduled to start on UFC Fight Pass, ESPN and the ESPN+ live stream at 6:30 p.m. ET, prelims on 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+, and the main card on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET.
Several fights from the UFC 250 card – which were previously scheduled for May 9 – have been added.
Lightweight contenders No. 1 Tony Ferguson (26-3-0) and No. 4 Justin Gaethje (21-2-0) will battle for the interim title, as champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is stuck in Russia, due to Russian travel restrictions.
Cejudo, 33, was originally supposed to face Jose Aldo on the UFC 250 card that was originally scheduled for UFC 250. Aldo pulled out due to visa issues. He is currently enjoying a fight win streak, including a TKO win over Marlon Moraes at UFC 238 in June 2019.
— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) April 24, 2020
Cruz, 34, has not fought since losing the belt to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207 in December 2016. He never did get a rematch, although several planned bouts to Jimmie River and John Lineker fell through due to injuries.
Other announced bouts include:
— UFC (@ufc) April 24, 2020
#1 TONY FERGUSON (25-3-0) VS. #4 JUSTIN GAETHJE (22-2-0)
HENRY CEJUDO (15-2-0) VS. DOMINICK CRUZ (22-2-0)
#2 FRANCIS NGANNOU (14-3-0) VS. #6 JARINHO ROZENSTRUIK (10-0-0)
#6 DONALD CERRONE (38-14-0) VS. #15 ANTHONY PETTIS (22-10-0)
#7 CARLA ESPARZA (15-6-0) VS. #8 MICHELLE WATERSON (17-7-0)
#12 ALEKSEI OLEINEIK (58-13-1) VS. FABRICIO WERDUM (23-7-1)
#10 URIAH HALL (15-9-0) VS. #14 RONALDO SOUZA (26-8-0)
#7 JEREMY STEPHENS (28-17-0, 1NC) VS. #9 CALVIN KATTAR (20-4-0)
GREG HARDY (5-1-0, 1NC) VS. YORGAN DE CASTRO (5-0-0)
#7 VICENTE LUQUE (17-7-1) VS. NIKO PRICE (13-3-0, 1NC)
BRYCE MITCHELL (12-1-0) VS. CHARLES ROSA (11-3-0)
RYAN SPANN (18-5-0) VS. SAM ALVEY (33-12-0, 1NC)
The UFC also has events scheduled for May 13 and May 16 as well as “Fight Island,” White’s secluded island battleground at a later date.