UFC 249 is set to take place on April 18, but there have been some huge questions surrounding the event. The most important thing was that the event did not have a site, and UFC President Dana White has been searching for options over the past few weeks. It now appears that a tribal casino in California has been chosen to host the highly anticipated event.
UFC 249 was originally scheduled to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. White announced a few weeks ago that this location would be unable to host the event after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo closed all non-essential businesses due to the coronavirus.
Las Vegas was the next logical choice to host the event, but the state refused to commission the fight. White has maintained that the event will take place without fans, but he was still unable to secure a location in Las Vegas.
There were reports last week about the event taking place somewhere in the Middle East, but the UFC was able to secure a location in California, keeping the event in the United States.
Tachi Palace Casino Resort will now host UFC 249, according to MMA reporter Jeff Sherwood. The casino resort is located in Lemoore, Calif., which is about a one-hour drive south of Fresno. The Tachi Palace Casino Resort is located on land owned by the Tachi-Yokut Tribe, and therefore the event won’t need sanctioning from the state of California.
The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) canceled all of its events through April after Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order. California is one of the states that has been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus, and the California Department of Public Health has noted that canceling these events will help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
White and the UFC are able to get around this order and recommendations by hosting the event on tribal land. The Tachi Palace Casino Resort has been shut down since March 20 in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The hotel portion of this resort is not accepting any reservations through June 1, but they have agreed to host UFC 249.
Despite intense pressure from the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, White and the UFC are continuing to host events through the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC believes that these bouts could spread the disease, but the UFC is one of the few organizations that are still hosting live sporting events.
Even though the UFC 249 event does have a new location, their main title bout will not go on as scheduled. Khabib Nurmagomedov was supposed to defend his lightweight championship against Tony Ferguson as the main event of the night.
Nurmagomedov is unable to leave his home country of Russia due to travel restrictions, and he has been replaced on the main card. Ferguson will now take on Justin Gaethje in the final fight of the night.
Gaethje is currently ranked as the fourth-best contender in the lightweight division, while Ferguson was viewed as the top contender. FanDuel Sportsbook currently has Ferguson as a heavy favorite in this bout. Ferguson is listed at -194, while Gaethje is listed at +164.
UFC 249 has 12 fights listed on the card, and all other fights will go on as scheduled. The event will be available on pay-per-view, and a large viewing audience is expected.
No fans will be allowed on-site at the casino property, and the UFC has yet to announce if any media presence will be allowed in to cover the fight.