As of now the UFC’s second try at producing UFC 249 is full go. The company has secured the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida as the venue for the May 9th lineup.
How can they have an event amid a pandemic? Enter a loophole in the Florida “essential services” policy. The WWE has already challenged the policy and was able to produce several of their shows during the shutdown saying that their media employees are essential.
In a safety statement posted to the UFC website, the company says:
UFC events scheduled for May 9, May 13, and May 16 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida will be fully sanctioned by the Florida State Boxing Commission and will comply with all of the regulations governing professional MMA events. We have worked closely with our medical staff and state and local officials, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, and Florida State Boxing Commission Executive Director Patrick Cunningham, to ensure the appropriate health and safety protocols are in place.
Pursuant to a request from the Florida State Boxing Commission, these events will be closed to the public and will be produced with only essential personnel in attendance. All athletes and staff will be required to adhere to a number of precautionary measures, such as participating in advanced medical screenings and temperature checks and following social distancing guidelines.
Safford native Justin Gaethje will face Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight championship in the main event. The two were originally set to face off on April 18th at an “unknown” location but that was ultimately canceled.
Ferguson hasn’t fought since June of 2019 when be beat Cowboy Cerrone and is on an 11 fight winning streak.
Gaethje last stepped in the octagon in September of 2019 where he also beat Cerrone in 4:18 of Round 1.
The Main Card is scheduled to start at 7pm Arizona time and will be available on ESPN+.
To see the Rise of Justin Gaethje in video form, click here.