Tony Ferguson faces Justin Gaethje in Jacksonville, Florida on May 9 in a lightweight bout for the interim belt that had been pencilled in for April 18 only for ESPN and Disney executives to step in and tell White to call off the event.
The UFC chief had been fighting tooth-and-nail to see UFC 249 take place, which was originally scheduled to see Khabib Nurmagomedov fight arch rival Ferguson for the lightweight belt in Brooklyn, New York.
Dana White has shared his excitement for the return of the UFC next weekend in Jacksonville
White says UFC will be the first sport back and said there will be no more cancellations
The Barclays Center pulled out of hosting duties due to the spread of the coronavirus in New York, leaving White scrambling to find a venue willing to host the event.
Nurmagomedov later pulled out of the fight having returned to Russia after being told that UFC 249 was to be held in the Middle East. That information turned out to be incorrect, leaving the champion stranded in his homeland.
Lightweight contender Gaethje then stepped in to fight Ferguson for the interim belt in a mysterious location known as ‘Fight Island’ before White was forced to suspend the event, vowing to be the first sport back on television.
Tony Ferguson is headlining UFC 249 on May 9 when he faces Justin Gaethje for interim belt
Ferguson was due to face Khabib Nurmagomedov on April 18 but that fight fell through
And now UFC 249 looks set to finally go ahead, with the Veterans Memorial Arena hosting the event next weekend. Two UFC Fight Night cards are also set to go ahead later in the week.
White took to Twitter to share his excitement over the upcoming event, which will also see Henry Cejudo defend his bantamweight belt against Dominic Cruz.
‘UFC will be the first sport back and it’s happening May 9, 13 and 16 in Jacksonville, Florida,’ he wrote. ‘I’m excited for the rest of the sports world to join us! Let’s get back to work America!’
UFC 249 will take place at the Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville next weekend
One of White’s 5.2 million followers responded to the tweet, saying: ‘This better happen. I can’t take anymore cancellations.’ White replied: ‘No more cancellations.’
The 50-year-old was reportedly part of a group of sport chiefs that held discussions with President Trump over the possibility of safely returning to action amid the coronavirus pandemic.
1,134,059 people have tested positive for the deadly disease in the United States, while 65,886 have died, the highest figure in the world.