U.F.C. 249, Skirting Coronavirus Limits, Is Set for Tribal Land in California

Written by on April 7, 2020

The Final Preventing Championship plans to carry a pay-per-view occasion on tribal land in Central California this month, an tried finish run round widespread federal and state pointers in opposition to holding giant gatherings throughout the coronavirus pandemic, in accordance with three folks aware of the choice.

Whilst most sporting occasions have floor to a halt worldwide due to the extremely contagious virus, Dana White, the U.F.C. president, has insisted he can safely maintain mixed-martial arts occasions.

“This place the place this combat goes to be on April 18 I’ve locked up for 2 months, so I’m going to proceed to pump fights out,” White told ESPN on Monday, although he declined to say precisely the place.

The situation would be the Tachi Palace On line casino Resort exterior Lemoore, Calif., about 40 miles south of Fresno, in accordance with the folks, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of White had not introduced the venue. The on line casino, which closed the night of March 20 due to the pandemic, is on land belonging to the Tachi-Yokut Tribe, a part of the federally acknowledged Santa Rosa Indian Community.

A consultant of the Tachi Palace On line casino Resort couldn’t instantly be reached for remark, and the U.F.C. didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. The situation was first reported by Jeff Sherwood, an independent M.M.A. reporter.

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The U.F.C. postponed three occasions in March and April as stay-at-home orders turned more and more widespread and states started requiring nonessential employees to remain dwelling. Nevada, the place the U.F.C. is predicated, is underneath a statewide stay-at-home order till at the very least April 30 — it has even shut down even the Las Vegas casino industry.

By holding the occasion on tribal land, the U.F.C. shouldn’t be topic to California’s govt order mandating that individuals keep at dwelling. The fights on the cardboard additionally don’t should be sanctioned by the California State Athletic Fee, which usually regulates blended martial arts occasions within the state. The fee has canceled all fights by way of Could 31.

“The fee echoes the steering of California Governor Gavin Newsom, the Division of Public Well being, native well being officers, and the suggestions of the Affiliation of Ringside Physicians concerning the cancellation of occasions the place folks could also be prone to contracting Covid-19 and encourages the business to do the identical,” the California athletic fee stated in an announcement. “The fee won’t take part within the U.F.C. occasion on April 18, whatever the occasion location.”

U.F.C. 249 was initially scheduled to be held on April 18 at Barclays Middle in Brooklyn, and to be headlined by a light-weight championship bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson — one of many U.F.C.’s most anticipated matchups in years. However after Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York restricted mass gatherings and the New York State Athletic Commission announced it wouldn’t authorize the event, White stated the U.F.C. would go ahead at a distinct location.

On Monday, White stated that Nurmagomedov, now at dwelling in Dagestan, Russia, was out of the combat and would get replaced by Justin Gaethje. Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been scheduled to combat one another 5 instances since 2015, however every plan fell aside due to harm, sickness and now the pandemic.

To guide any fights involving athletes who can’t journey to the US, White has said he secured an island however has not disclosed the place.

The April 18 pay-per-view occasion will likely be bought by ESPN+, ESPN’s streaming service, and the preliminary card will likely be scheduled for certainly one of ESPN’s cable channels. An ESPN spokeswoman declined to touch upon Tuesday.


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