UFC Fighting To Get Back In Octagon

    • This article originally appeared in the April 27 FOS newsletter.

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The UFC was one of the last sporting organizations to entirely suspend operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, as UFC President Dana White has made multiple attempts to hold a fight card. One such effort, which included moving UFC 249 to Native American land in California, was only postponed after White said senior executives from Disney and ESPN asked him to “stand down.”

Now the MMA organization has seemingly fought its way back, announcing plans for three shows starting on May 9.

No Tap Outs: The UFC will hold three events in Florida within eight days. That will include the rescheduled UFC 249 on May 9, which will be followed by cards on May 13 and May 16.

All three of those events will take place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, which typically houses tenants like the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen and the American Basketball Association’s Jacksonville Giants. No fans will be in attendance, and only essential employees will be on site.

Florida had previously deemed “professional sports and media production with a national audience” an essential service, which has also allowed the WWE to operate in the state.

Island In The Sun: White is also sticking to his plan of hosting fights on an island, which will allow it to arrange matches for international fighters during the pandemic.

The island will be operational by June, and will feature an octagon on the beach, White told ESPN. There will be hotels on the island for fighters to stay while they are there. It will likely be retired once traveling restrictions post-pandemic are lifted.

UFC’s last event was held on March 14.