Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White says fights will continue despite the coronavirus pandemic—even if that means holding them on a private island.
White says he has something in mind for UFC 249, which was planned to take place on April 18 in New York. The UFC president noted that he will find another place to hold the event, according to Global News.
“I’m a day or two away from securing a private island,” White said when speaking with TMZ on Monday. “As of April 18, the UFC is back up and running.”
White did not give the exact location of the event but said that ESPN will be broadcasting it. The main event will include Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje—who will replace Khabib Nurmagomedov as he cannot make the fight due to travel restrictions.
“We’re getting the infrastructure put in now, so I’m going to start doing the international fights too with international fighters,” White said.
White said the fight will be held on an island, though he did not give any exact location. He added that no fans will be in attendance at the event.
“We’re going to make sure that everybody there is going to be safe before, during and after,” he said.
White said he plans to hold many events in the same location in the coming months.
“We’re going to be pumping out fights every week,” he said.
The full fight card was released in a tweet posted by the UFC on Monday.
All other professional sports leagues in North America have been forced to shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP) did not think that White’s plan to continue holding fighting events was a good idea.
“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,” the ARP said in a statement released on Monday night.
“In addition, combat sports athletes require medical attention after a bout, and we do not wish to see any additional strain on an already overwhelmed medical system.”