Ultimate Fighting Championship president, Dana White, has issued a challenge to mixed martial arts fans, who think the UFC 249 pay-per-view event will not happen.
The promotion was scheduled to return to New York on April 18 for the UFC 249 pay-per-view event, with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson headlining the fight card in a highly-anticipated lightweight title bout.
The match-up has been scrapped for four times in the past as both fighters suffered health issues and freak injuries and fans are now fearing it might get cancelled for the fifth time amid the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives around the world.
The New York State Athletic Commission has informed the UFC it can no longer hold the MMA event at the Barclays Center as the state imposed a ban on large gatherings including sporting events, with its COVID-19 cases soaring to nearly 2000, forcing the promotion to look for a new venue outside ‘The Empire State.’
While the UFC needed to postpone its next three fight night events, White is determined to make the UFC 249 happen despite the growing pressure from MMA fans.
“Khabib and Tony is going to happen,” White told TSN.
“We’re going to figure that out. We’re going to make it happen and then it’s just going to be a matter of how quickly we can get back to being normal.”
“Listen, again, 10 days ago I’d have told you things for sure. I don’t know. I’m sort of rolling with the punches here and have been since the beginning. I can’t honestly answer that question for you.”
“We’re looking at a lot of different things,” he added.
“Listen, if you’re a fan, a media member, whatever you might be, do you want to bet against me? You want to bet that I can’t pull stuff off?
“At some point you stop doubting me I’d imagine but maybe not. We’ll see.”
The outspoken head honcho also responded to his critics, who are saying he has no regard for the UFC fighters’ health and safety.
“Health and safety is always a concern,” White assured.
“A lot of these other businesses don’t deal with kind of stuff. We deal with this every single day.”
“We have the brightest and best doctors for our fighters and our staff. So health and safety is not new to us and is something we think about and focus on every day.’’
The UFC recently proved it can pull off a great MMA show when it staged UFC Fight Night 170 behind closed doors in Brasilia last week.
For UFC 249, the promotion is likely to use a similar approach to give fans ‘the most anticipated fight in UFC history’ which stars the streaking Nurmagomedov and Ferguson.
(Featured Image Source: YouTube/ ESPN MMA and Instagram/ Khabib)