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UFC 249 reportedly to be hosted on Tribal Lands in California

The UFC 249 secret location isn’t so secret anymore. The revamped fight card featuring Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje is headed to Tribal Lands in Northern California.The Tachi Palace Casino Resort, which belongs to the Tachi-Yokut tribe of the federally recognized Santa Rosa Indian Community, is located in Lemoore, Calif. The casino was at one time the home of the WEC, which the UFC later purchased and merged into its promotion.News of Tachi Palace being the host location for UFC 249 was first reported by Sherdog.com founder Jeff Sherwood on Twitter. The New York Times on Tuesday published an article citing Sherwood and “people who spoke on condition of anonymity,” as confirming Tachi Palace as the host location.UFC officials told MMAWeekly.com, “We are not announcing the location for the April 18th event, so we have no further comment regarding any articles that speculate locations.”UFC President Dana White mentioned in an ESPN interview on Monday that he had locked up a location for UFC 249 and future events over the next two months, though he would not reveal the location.”This place where this fight is gonna be on April 18, I have locked up for two months. So I’m gonna continue to pump fights out,” White said, before adding, “I’ve also secured an island. The infrastructure is being built right now. We’re going to do all of our international fights on this island.” Why would the UFC move to Tribal Lands?If it has secured Tachi Palace on Tribal Lands, the UFC is not bound by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide stay-at-home order. The UFC fight cards held there are also not required to be sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission, which has canceled all combative sports events statewide through at least May 31.Though White initially told ESPN that there would be an athletic commission on site, it appears that the promotion would likely have to self-regulate its events at Tachi Palace, similar to what the promotion does when it holds events in territories that do not have their own regulatory bodies.In such cases, Marc Ratner, the UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and a former Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, oversees regulating the events, making sure that everything follows along with how an athletic commission would administer regulation.One potential hurdle the UFC faces could be in the form of which officials would be willing to work the events at Tachi Palace, especially considering they could face repercussions from athletic commissions that don’t look favorably upon the UFC moving forward amidst numerous lockdowns across the globe. California State Athletic Commission will not participate in UFC 249“The commission echoes the guidance of California Governor Gavin Newsom, the Department of Public Health, local health officials, and the recommendations of the Association of Ringside Physicians regarding the cancellation of events where people may be at risk of contracting COVID-19 and encourages the industry to do the same,” the California State Athletic Commission said in a statement reported in the N.Y. Times piece. “The commission will not participate in the U.F.C. event on April 18, regardless of the event location.””Sporting events across the world have been cancelled in response to the increased risk of infection and transmission by participants, fans, officials, and support staff,” read the aforementioned Association of Ringside Physicians statement.”It is our recommendation that all combat sporting events be postponed until further notice. This includes any and all events, regardless of the number of people involved. Any combat sport taking place during this global pandemic places the athletes, officials, and anyone else involved in the event under unnecessary risk of infection and transmission of Covid-19. In addition, combat sports athletes often require medical attention after a bout, and we do not wish to see any additional strain on an already overwhelmed medical system.” Association of Boxing Commissions takes neutral stance on UFC 249An initial statement attributed to the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) as noted by The MMA Report stated, in part, “If the fight occurs, it will be considered a non-sanctioned event since a state/tribal commission will not be present. All officials that decide to participate in the event, they may be sanctioned on a tribal/state level.”Brian Dunn, President of the ABC, clarified the association’s position in a direct statement to MMAWeekly.com.”The UFC isn’t doing anything illegal. I have discussed the matter with the ABC board of directors, and officials from the UFC. They agreed to increase medical presence and regulate the event by international standards,” said Dunn.”The official ABC position is neutral on the matter, as we do have have jurisdiction.”Dunn said that the ABC would not pursue sanctions against officials that participate, but that he could not control other jurisdictions or athletic commissions in that regard. None of the commissions we asked commented on whether or not officials would face any repercussions from working such events. It should also be noted that many officials that work for various commissions across the United States have worked self-regulated UFC events in other territories without repercussion.* * *TRENDING > Editorial: UFC 249 is not about Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson* * * Dana White insists health and safety is paramount at UFC 249Insisting that health and safety are always paramount to the UFC, White went to great lengths in his ESPN interview to ensure everyone that the health of anyone involved with the UFC putting on events during the global pandemic was at the top of his list of priorities.”Health and safety is a thing that we worry about all the time not just during the coronavirus. Obviously, this has made our jobs a little tougher, but we’re going to do everything above and beyond to make sure that everybody is safe that is associated with this event, just like we always do,” said White.”We’ve consulted with our doctor, Dr. (Jeffrey) Davidson, who has consulted with many other doctors. And, like I said, the health and safety of not just the athletes, but the athletic commission that will be there, the referees and judges that will be there, my production staff that will be there. I’m gonna be there. We’re making sure that everyone is taken care of. We’re making sure that we go above and beyond to make sure that everyone is safe.”

UFC close to securing private island for fights

The show looks like it’ll continue for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after its President Dana White confirmed reports that his organisation is taking their next fight night to a private island, whilst arenas in the United States remain on lockdown. Three events in the mixed martial arts promotions calendar have already been postponed, but White has now said he’s close to securing a “private island” for UFC 249 to stage its fights. Most of the sports world has been brought to a standstill, but the UFC plans to stick to its schedule, albeit without fans in attendance. With countries locking down borders and tightening travel restrictions, White said he had a way to get his stable of non-U.S. based fighters back in action. He said he plans to put on fights every week and that all fighters, support staff as well as UFC crew would have their health tested on regular occasions. UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was scheduled to meet American Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 but he said last week the fight was off as he is in quarantine in Russia. White has announced Justin Gaethje will now step in to fight Ferguson.

UFC close to securing private island for fights, says president White

VIDEO SHOWS: FILE FOOTAGE OF UFC PRESIDENT, DANA WHITE, TONY FERGUSON, KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV AND CONOR MCGREGOR SHOWS: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (FILE – APRIL 6, 2018) (UFC – MUST COURTESY ‘UFC’) 1. UFC PRESIDENT, DANA WHITE SPEAKING AT A NEWS CONFERENCE AHEAD OF UFC 223 NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (FILE – APRIL 8, 2018) (UFC – MUST COURTESY ‘UFC’) 2. WHITE SPEAKING AT UFC 223 NEWS CONFERENCE LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, UNITED STATES (OCTOBER 6, 2017) (UFC – MUST COURTESY ‘UFC’) 3. VARIOUS OF TONY FERGUSON GETTING ON SCALES AND WEIGHING IN AT 155 POUNDS (70.3 KGS) AHEAD OF UFC 216 FIGHT AGAINST KEVIN LEE 4. FERGUSON AND LEE STARING EACH OTHER DOWN WHILE EXCHANGING WORDS WITH WHITE KEEPING THEM APART NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (APRIL 6, 2018) (UFC – MUST COURTESY UFC OR PROVIDE CREDIT IN COPY) 5. LIGHTWEIGHT FIGHTER KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV GETTING ON SCALES AND WEIGHING IN AT 154.5 POUNDS (70.0 KGS) AHEAD OF UFC 223 LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, UNITED STATES (FILE – OCTOBER 5, 2018) (UFC – NO RESALES / MUST COURTESY ‘UFC’) 6. VARIOUS OF NURMAGOMEDOV AND MCGREGOR STARING EACH OTHER DOWN / MCGREGOR HITTING NURMAGOMEDOV’S FIST AND KICKING OUT AT HIM WHILE UFC PRESIDENT DANA WHITE AND OTHER KEEP THE TWO APART 7. FANS WATCHING ON AS WEIGH IN ENDS STORY: Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White has said the mixed martial arts promotion is close to securing a “private island” to stage bouts for international fighters during the COVID-19 pandemic. The flu-like virus has infected 1.27 million people globally and caused over 70,000 deaths and brought the sports world to a standstill, but the UFC plans to stick to its schedule albeit without fans in attendance. The organisation, which was forced to postpone three events, will resume its calendar with UFC 249 on April 18 and White said he had also found a new venue for that event after the Barclays Center in New York was ruled out. With countries locking down borders and tightening travel restrictions, White said he had a way to get his stable of non-U.S. based fighters back in action. White said that he planned to put on fights every week and that all fighters, support staff as well as UFC crew would be tested for the virus regularly. UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was scheduled to meet American Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 but he said last week the fight was off as he is in quarantine in Russia. Ferguson will now take on fellow American Justin Gaethje.

Dana White absolves Nurmagomedov: ‘Khabib didn’t fly back to Russia; he got flown back to Russia’

UFC President Dana White has been hit from all angles as he tried to keep the UFC 249 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson intact.At the end of the day, though he has been able to keep UFC 249 on the schedule for April 18, it just wasn’t possible to keep Khabib vs. Ferguson at the top of the bill. He has instead had to shift gears and pit Ferguson against fellow contender Justin Gaethje for an interim championship. Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov is parked in Russia, taking flack from many critics for the most anticipated lightweight fight of all time falling through the cracks for the fifth time.White, however, insists that it was not Nurmagomedov’s fault that he ended up in Russia on lockdown, while UFC 249 is expected to move forward at an undisclosed location in the United States.* * * “(Khabib) ended up getting flown back to Russia. He didn’t fly back to Russia; he got flown back to Russia.”* * *Nurmagomedov did not pass blame to anyone but the COVID-19 pandemic that is running rampant, forcing ever tightening restrictions across the globe.“Number one thing that make me crazy (is) when people say I pull out or I do something. I no understand this. I still training since December. I train very hard, 9 December. I come (to) U.S. because UFC give me location, New York Barclays Center. I come U.S. I train 40 days, then everything is go crazy,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN.“They say U.S.A. 100 percent no fight. Okay. We move to Abu Dhabi, Dubai. Why? Because they told me 99 percent it’s gonna be in Dubai. Like last my training camp, how I did, I come to U.S. I train with Coach Javier in AKA 55 days then we move to Abu Dhabi because fight was in Abu Dhabi. I understand, if Abu Dhabi, no problem. We did this before, we’re gonna do this one more time. We come. They close gate. But this is not my problem. I don’t make mistake. One more time, I wanna say I am Khabib, I’m not coronavirus.”When Nurmagomedov arrived in Abu Dhabi, he found the country closed to foreigners and was sent home to Russia. After announcing the revamped UFC 249 fight card, White conducted a lengthy interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, defending his lightweight champion.“I know everybody was going crazy on Khabib. Khabib didn’t do anything wrong. You look at the way the world changed, literally by the day, he got caught up. He ended up getting flown back to Russia. He didn’t fly back to Russia; he got flown back to Russia. It sucks, but what are you gonna do?”White was as disappointed as anyone that Khabib vs. Ferguson was nixed for the fifth time, but felt fortunate to navigate the most difficult thing he’s ever had to do and end up with another stellar main event.”I could go on for 10 minutes telling you how that whole thing fell apart. The reality is that is nobody’s fault. Every day when I got up, the rules changed. Things were shutting down. Things were closing,” said White.* * *TRENDING > Justin Gaethje ‘terrified’ heading into UFC 249 main event* * *“(Khabib) got caught up in Russia. It was a total mishap. We all made mistakes in that one. Nobody is to blame for that. It is what it is. The fact that we can even pull off an event right now… this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. By far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”But if you look at Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, ridiculous fight, and a fight that absolutely makes sense. Khabib vs. Tony should be happening, but it should have happened five times ago. I’m starting to believe Joe Rogan that this fight is cursed. This is an incredible main event and I have a lot of respect for both guys standing up.”White plans for UFC 249 to be the signal that his fight promotion is back in business. He is adamant this isn’t a one-off, feel-good event, but the start of the rest of the UFC’s calendar of events for the remainder of 2020.* * * Dana White securing a private island for UFC international fights(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)

Full UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje fight card unveiled

UFC 249 may not be moving forward fully as planned, but UFC President Dana White has thus far followed through on his promise to put together a fight card which he intends to have take place on April 18.Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov had been slated to defend against Tony Ferguson in Brooklyn, N.Y., but COVID-19 concerns nixed that location. The pandemic restrictions also forced Nurmagomedov off of the fight card.White didn’t give up on the event, however, eventually finding a location where it could take place in the United States. He has yet to reveal where that location is. According to ESPN, not even the fighters or managers have been looped in on the location yet. It is believed to be somewhere along the West Coast of the U.S. and expected to serve as a de facto UFC home base for follow-up events beyond UFC 249 until operations able to return to some semblance of normalcy.The revamped fight card has a new headliner. White revealed midday on Monday that Ferguson would now face fellow contender Justin Gaethje for an interim lightweight championship on April 18.Monday evening, the rest of the UFC 249 fight card was released, including bouts such as the rematch between former strawweight champions Jessica Andrade and Rose Namajunas, Francis Ngannou vs. Jair Rozenstruik, Jacare Souza vs. Uriah Hall, and several other bouts.In all, the UFC 249 fight card currently has a slate of 12 bouts, and is still expected to be a Pay-Per-View offering via the ESPN+ app.* * *TRENDING > Editorial: UFC 249 is not about Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson* * * UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje full fight card * Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje* * Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas * Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price * Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar * Francis Ngannou vs. Jair Rozenstruik * Uriah Hall vs. Ronaldo Souza * Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro * Alexander Hernandez vs. Omar Morales * Marlon Vera vs. Ray Borg * Khama Worthy vs. Michael Johnson * Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras * Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey*For the interim UFC lightweight championship

UFC home state Nevada suspended combat sports until further notice

The UFC has the capability to hold its own closed-door events on its Las Vegas campus – including full production equipment – but it won’t be able to utilize its facilities to hold events for the foreseeable future.Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett informed MMAWeekly.com on Sunday that the state has suspended all unarmed combat sports (such as mixed martial arts and boxing) until further notice. The athletic commission initially put unarmed combat sports on hold on March 14 pending a March 25 commission meeting where its response to the COVID-19 pandemic would be further solidified. The March 25 meeting was scrapped when Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on March 22 shutdown public meetings in the state, along with all non-essential businesses, until at least April 16. With U.S. President Donald Trump extending nationwide social distancing recommendations until at least April 30, it is likely that Nevada and other states will also extend their orders.Regardless, Bennett told MMAWeekly.com that there was no direct timeline for unarmed combat sports to return to Nevada. The NSAC will follow the guidance of “the science regarding COVID-19” as it moves forward. Nevada Athletic Commission statement on unarmed combat sports: “As of this date (Sunday, April 5) the NSAC will not have any Unarmed Combat events until further notice. We will listen and follow the science regarding COVID-19 and move forward with events accordingly. The health and safety of the fighters, their camps, the fans and our staff is the number one priority.”* * *TRENDING > Dana White denies fake Khabib-Putin report, but insists UFC 249 happening* * * How is the UFC moving forward?UFC President Dana White had initially planned to move several events to its APEX facility at its headquarters in Las Vegas, but those plans were scrapped rather quickly when it became apparent that Nevada wasn’t likely to approve such a move.UFC APEX has built-in, advanced production capabilities with an arena space that can be configured to accommodate a variety of live events. But as long as the NSAC is unable to oversee events in the state, the UFC will be unable to produce live events at APEX or at any other Las Vegas venue. No unarmed combat sports promoter will be able to hold an event in Nevada until the order changes.As of Sunday, White was still intending to move forward with UFC 249 on April 18, though he has yet to unveil a revised fight card or a location.