When will live mixed martial arts fights return to television?, UFC 249

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 11: A general view of the Octagon during the UFC 221 event at Perth Arena on February 11, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Report: UFC targeting May 9 as return date for events

The UFC could be making their return to live events sooner than later, as UFC President Dana White has noted. According to two separate reports, first by MMA Fighting and then ESPN, the UFC is targeting a return to putting on events on May 9 after their events were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As first reported by Steven Marrocco and Damon Martin, the UFC is targeting their return to action on May 9, which was scheduled to be their UFC 250 PPV event. In the report, MMA Fighting details that there have been no contract or bout agreements agreed upon yet, but the UFC is coming up with a plan in place to start putting events back on.

Before it was postponed, the UFC was targeting holding UFC 249 at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, California, but top executives at ESPN and Disney asked White to step down and postponed an interim lightweight title fight between Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson. The MMA Fighting report suggests that the UFC is looking at possibly holding events in the United States, with California, Texas, and Florida all possible hosts for the event.

Although there have been no contracts agreed upon, Brett Okamoto of ESPN confirmed the initial report from MMA Fighting and tweeted out some matchups that the promotion is looking at for their return event.

Those matchups with added “possible title fight” include:

  • Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje (possible interim lightweight title fight)
  • Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz (possible bantamweight title fight)
  • Amanda Nunes vs Felicia Spencer (possible featherweight title fight)
  • Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Another matchup that has been agreed to for the possible May 9 event according to Okamoto is a welterweight fight between a former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and former lightweight title challenger, Donald Cerrone.

All of these matchups are potential fights with none of them becoming official until the UFC can move forward with their event, which will be difficult with restrictions in place regarding large-crowded events. Earlier this week the Governor of Florida deemed WWE an essential business, which brought plenty of criticism, but could also open the door for the UFC’s hopeful return.

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