Justin Gaethje would face Tony Ferguson in the major tournament of UFC 249.
Word got here down Monday that the UFC inked a new fundamental tournament for UFC 249. With light-weight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov pinned down by means of coronavirus-related tour restrictions in his native Russia, agency President Dana White introduced on Twitter that Justin Gaethje would step in towards Tony Ferguson.
With these two warring parties each dwelling in America, it stands to cause that a stateside region is in the works, reportedly on the West Coast or tribal lands. Fans ought to possibly anticipate large adjustments up and down the card, given its typical-for-the-UFC combine of global competitors.
(Update: Reports got here in late Monday that White and the UFC can also be shopping for an island—an island!—in an as-yet-undisclosed location, including that a remaining deal used to be “a day or two” away. Stay tuned.)
In the wake of this news, there are a few matters to consider, which includes the possible dangers of preserving the tournament amid a world pandemic. Still, you have to renowned that White is on the precipice of any other big non-public achievement.
Second, White’s doggedness is, as always, his high-quality quality, at least as it relates to going for walks the UFC. He swore he’d make it happen, and he is labored round the clock to observe through. On April 18, his UFC will be the solely sport in town. It will draw eyeballs and gratitude from followers and the a variety of commercial enterprise stakeholders, and it would possibly simply create some MMA converts.
That attracts us proper into the 0.33 point, which is that Ferguson-Gaethje is an superb fight. As in, one of the most action-packed contests the UFC should make proper now in any division. These are two stress warring parties who favor nothing else however a knockout. If this does hit the airwaves, I’m watching.
The relaxation of the card can also cease up being atrocious, however is that simply a problem? As earlier mentioned, White is the remaining shrimp boat on the bayou.
Now, earlier than we smash out the chest paint, there may be a caveat to all this that humans ought to be conscious of. The hardest part—that rely of location—remains unresolved, at least publicly.
Whatever the location, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani supplied a analyzing of the tea leaves when he mentioned that, if nothing else, an professional foremost tournament announcement indicators that a region choice is imminent, as Ferguson would solely agree to battle Gaethje if the UFC had a particular location.
Where else should UFC 249 take place? Chael Sonnen’s Submission Underground 12, which aired these days on UFC Fight Pass, took region in an deserted Oregon grain silo. I mean, it truly is West Coast, is it not? Meanwhile, Belarus, which has no longer carried out encouraged pointers to forestall the unfold of the virus, has kindly opened its doors—they may want to preserve it in the front of a full crowd! You may want to have Andrei Arlovski combat cameras.
Tony Ferguson (right) punches Donald CerroneKamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press
Now let’s drop the different shoe. A generational catastrophe is solely commencing to unfold. We do not be aware of what the future holds—for UFC 249 or in general. White’s work ethic deserves respect, however getting this over the end line does not magically make it the proper aspect to do.
An MMA battle is the dictionary contrary of social distancing. Unless the UFC checks all and sundry coming into the constructing and all these checks come again negative, there is a robust opportunity the virus, which can be carried by way of any one besides he or she understanding it, will be transmitted amongst opponents and coaches, regardless of something else. But there is a large issue, which is that this match may also no longer carry the world’s most wonderful message concerning staying aside and taking that seriously. Could UFC 249 have that type of influence, consciously or otherwise, on its viewers? I do not comprehend the reply to that, however I do surprise about it. They truely have that capacity, or else they could not promote commercials.
Am I announcing that every body who participates in or watches the tournament is going to get COVID-19? Of route not. The actual factor is this: How many fatalities—and how lots evidence—do we want earlier than we conclude that, yeah, we may choose to pull out all the stops to quit the spread.
It’s a free u . s . at the quit of the day, and White simply took a massive step nearer to getting what he wants. He’ll be in a position to oh-so-satisfyingly rub the haters’ noses in it one extra time. But may want to there be a hidden cost? We might not comprehend till the invoice comes due.