UFC president Dana White told ESPN Tuesday that the company is now focusing on Saturday, May 9th, for their return to action including a targeted card that would be among their deepest of all-time.
Brett Okamoto tweeted that White “remains adamant” that the company will get back on their schedule and that “barring outside factors”, the May 9th show will happen in a location that is still to be determined.
Okamoto tweeted that this is the card being targeted:
UFC interim lightweight championship: Justin Gaethje vs. Tony Ferguson
UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz
UFC women’s featherweight champion Amanda Nunes vs. Felicia Spencer
Jair Rozenstruik vs. Francis Ngannou
Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis
Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar
Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan de Castro
Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexey Oleynik
Michelle Waterson vs. Carla Esparza
Jacare Souza vs. Uriah Hall
Niko Price vs. Vincente Luque
Charles Rosa vs. Bryce Mitchell
May 9th was originally slated to be UFC 250 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Last week, White had to cancel plans to hold this Saturday’s UFC 249 at the Tachi Palace Casino in Lemoore, CA, due to the governor intervening with Disney/ESPN officials as the show was set to be held on tribal land. White said plans for “Fight Island” — a secret location where infrastructure is being put in place to both train fighters and put events on — are ongoing and could be up and running within a month.
White said he had a state, athletic commissioner, and governor all lined up to do the 249 event, but that Disney/ESPN asked him to “stand down”. Florida is being speculated as a possible destination given their controversial governor’s decree Monday that pro sports, including WWE, are “essential businesses” but cannot have fans in attendance.
White has been thwarted by travel bans and location availability due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic in an effort to keep putting on events. He has had to cancel shows on March 21, March 28, April 11 and the aforementioned UFC 249, remaining steadfast that the UFC will be the first sports entity to return to action, even if it has to be in front of empty arenas.
The organization has yet to formally announce their plan on how to test all personnel involved for COVID-19 before, during, and after these events with White insisting they have it covered.
President Donald Trump announced Tuesday afternoon that White will be part of a group of sports commissioners working together on getting the sports industry back to work.