The Ultimate Fighting Championship now has a reported venue for its next event.
On Thursday, Wrestling Observer Radio reported that the promotion has found a destination for UFC 249 on May 9. Reports came in on Tuesday claiming that the event would go down in Florida, and WOR has further stated it will be held in Jacksonville, at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
“It looks like it’s going to be the [VyStar] Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville,” explained Dave Meltzer. When asked about if he was supposed to disclose that news, he replied, “I think it’s disclosed then. They’ve actually told fighters that they’re flying into Jacksonville…but there are people in Jacksonville that have to book a building. That’s where it looks like it’s going to be. It’s right across from Daily’s Place [Amphitheater].”
Meltzer was cautious to say it was a sure thing, noting, “People have gotten their flights already. [The venue] is not 100 percent confirmed but it’s been told to me from a very good source.”
This report runs counter to the public statement put out by ASM Global, the company that manages seven venues in the city. “The City of Jacksonville venues managed by ASM Global are closed for public events until further notice,” the organization wrote. This includes the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, as well as the aforementioned Daily’s Place, and multiple sporting events including baseball and arena league football have been stricken from the calendar. However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an order declaring sporting events “essential services,” as long as the location is closed to the general public.
This event was originally slated to take place on April 19, but a little over a week before the card, it and all subsequent events were postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, UFC President Dana White has been planning to get fights started up on May 9.
Should it still go on as scheduled, the fight card is topped by a pair of title matchups. Headlining the event will be an interim lightweight championship affair between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, while Henry Cejudo and Dominick Cruz will cross paths for bantamweight gold. UFC 249 was slated to have three belts on the line, but Amanda Nunes withdrew from her featherweight defense against Felicia Spencer due to concerns of an insufficient training camp.
The promotion has never before put on a show in Jacksonville. Thirteen previous UFC cards have gone down in the Sunshine State, including several in Orlando, Tampa and Hollywood. Most recently, the UFC held two events in Florida in 2019, with Fight Night cards in April and October.
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