UFC eyeing early May return date as Dana White confirms 'fight island'
UFC 249 was canceled earlier this month but president Dana White wants fight nights to return as early as May despite coronavirus causing chaos across the sporting world.
UFC president Dana White is reportedly eyeing a return for the sport on May 9, despite UFC 249 having been canceled earlier this week.
UFC has been hit as hard as any sports by the coronavirus crisis with Tony Ferguson’s scheduled bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov having been called off due to the champion being unable to leave Russia.
Ferguson was then scheduled to fight Justin Gaethje at an unknown location before UFC 249 was called off at the last minute.
There was a proposed ‘fight island’ by White which would have allowed fighters to compete in a safe environment amid COVID-19.
And though that previous card was canceled, MMA Fighting claims that the UFC is eyeing a return to action on May 9, at a location to be determined.
Heavyweight star Francis Ngannou is believed to be on the card too, with Ngannou set to face Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a bout that was originally set to headline UFC on ESPN 8.
It comes with White confirming that ‘fight island’ is real, while being adamant that UFC will be the first sport to return to action.
“We will be the first sport back,” White said. “‘Fight Island’ is real.
“It’s a real thing. The infrastructure is being built right now, and that’s really going to happen. It will be on ESPN.”
White had received plenty of criticism for planning UFC 249 amid the coronavirus crisis before the event was canceled at the last minute.
Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn had said: “It’s unbelievable, I’d like to think that in boxing, there’s no-one more roll your sleeves up and get on with it than me.
“But even I wouldn’t consider staging an event right now. I’m not even thinking about options, not even on the radar.
“This is stubbornness. These are many of the things that make him successful but at some point you have to sit back and say ‘white flag’.
“He wants to be a trailblazer, people have told him he can’t do it. But I know the feeling of being told something and you do it anyway.
“Half of me admires him for cracking on but the other half says ‘come on, don’t be mad’.”