Before we begin with this opinion piece, this note to impart to you regarding adjustments made to upcoming Cage Warriors cards:
Cage Warriors 114, scheduled for Apr. 18 in Birmingham, England, and Cage Warriors 115, scheduled for May 16 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, have each been postponed and rescheduled for this fall in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cage Warriors 114 will be rescheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26 at the SSE Arena, while Cage Warriors 115 will be rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10.
Tickets for both postponed events will be honored on the rescheduled fight nights.
More information can be found in the official announcement on Cage Warriors’ Website:
Onward to today’s item:
It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has affected the sports calendar in every way throughout the world.
We could be here until this time next week listing all the cancelled events in the sports world.
As of now, the next MMA event, and live sporting event on the calendar, for that matter, is the scheduled UFC 249 event on Apr. 18 (main card 10 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. PDT on ESPN+ pay-per-view).
UFC 249 was initially scheduled to originate from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but is currently in the process of being relocated to another venue and city in light of the nationwide ban on mass gatherings set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Despite this setback, UFC President Dana White is steadfast that this card will happen.
But will it?
Reports indicate that White has already narrowed down the list of possible host cities for the Apr. 18 event to no more than five—and weeks ago, he said that the event would take place as scheduled, appearing on SportsCenter earlier in March and reiterating, in part:
“So we are postponing the next three events, but Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib on April 18 is still on and that will still happen. So we are going to follow these guidelines to not have more than 10 people in a room. And we are hoping that this all clears up by April.”
White then went onto mention that UFC 249 would probably not happen in America.
With everything going on in the world, ranging from quarantines to travel bans, including one in Russia, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s home country, that bars airplane flights coming into and going out of the nation(an order that’s been in effect since last Friday), Dana White is going to need to adapt to this ever-changing scenario.
From the looks of it, he’s already adapting in an effort to get UFC 249 to happen.
In an interview with boxing legend Mike Tyson, White had this to say:
“I’m gonna try and pull off Tony vs. Khabib on April 18 and try to get some normalcy back in this country. Every day that I work on this thing, I get a curve ball thrown at me. Every time we plan something, it falls apart—I have to re-do it, re-do it.”
It goes without saying that this is an extremely fluid situation.
If UFC 249 does, indeed, happen in a few weeks’ time, I don’t think you’ll see Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson (the fifth scheduling of this pairing, by the way) as your main event that night.
As it stands now, the event is scheduled to feature 12 fights on its card, but that could change on any given day between now and the third Saturday in April.
I give Dana White a ton of credit for what he does week after week as he and his team navigate through the year to put on UFC shows for the fans’ collective excitement and entertainment.
For his yeoman-like effort to assemble UFC 249 amid this current health crisis, Dana White should be commended.
Only time will tell—and quickly—whether the show will be held.
Here’s what Joe Rogan thinks about UFC 249:
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