UFC President Dana White did not want to cancel UFC 249, which was originally scheduled for April 18, but leaders at Disney and ESPN made the decision for him. White was able to secure a location on tribal land for that fight but decided to cancel the event in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the cancellation, White has promised that UFC would be the first sport to make a return, and now it appears that he is making good on his word.
White is now planning on holding UFC 249 on May 9, which is the original date that UFC 250 was supposed to take place. UFC 250 was supposed to take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, but this event will not be held in that location.
According to multiple sources, White and the UFC are planning on a huge pay-per-view event on May 9 with at least three title fights on the fight card. White has yet to make an official announcement, but some potential fights are already starting to leak out to the public.
White has yet to announce a location for the upcoming event on May 9, but there have been rumors of him securing a private island to host the bouts. White himself has spoken to several media outlets over the last few days and says that his new plan is extremely expensive.
The UFC is willing to pay a high price to bring in the top talent as long as White can deliver on his promise to be the first sport back in action.
UFC 249 will once again be headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. This fight was put together a few weeks ago after Khabib Nurmamedogev was unable to attend the event scheduled for UFC 249.
Nurmamedogev is the top fighter in the lightweight division, but travel restrictions placed by his home country of Russia will not let him attend the event.
Ferguson is the top challenger in the lightweight division, and Gaethje is currently viewed as the fourth-best contender. FanDuel Sportsbook pulled their odds for this fight after UFC 249 was canceled, but will likely be released again soon once White makes an official announcement that this will be the title fight.
The other pair of title bouts are expected to carry over from the original UFC 249 event, and it appears that all four of those participants have agreed to take part in this event. Henry Cejudo will take on Dominick Cruz in a bantamweight title fight, while Amanda Nunes will take on Felicia Spencer in a featherweight title fight.
FanDuel Sportsbook has released odds for these two fights as they appear more set in stone. Cejudo is currently listed as the favorite at -194, while Cruz is listed at +164. Nunes is a monster favorite in the featherweight title fight, currently listed at -500. Spencer is listed at +350 as a challenger trying to take the belt.
There is another fight that appears to be happening for sure at this event, and it will be one of the top lightweight clashes between a pair of contenders. Anthony Pettis is listed as a -120 favorite in this matchup against the underdog Donald Cerrone listed at +102 according to the most recent online sports betting odds from the US.
White also has some other fights lined up on paper, but he has yet to get a firm commitment from several fighters. Fighters have expressed an unwillingness to commit until a firm date and location are set due to several other cancellations over the last few weeks.