UFC to offer 3 shows without fans in Florida

Florida

(AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

(AP) – The Ultimate Fighting Championship is returning to competition on May 9 with three shows in eight days in Jacksonville, Florida.

The mixed martial arts promotion announced its plans Friday to return to action after postponing and canceling several shows due to the coronavirus pandemic.

UFC 249 will be held May 9 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville with no fans in attendance. The postponed pay-per-view show will still be headlined by Tony Ferguson’s interim lightweight title bout against Justin Gaethje.

UFC President Dana White also plans to hold shows on May 13 and May 16 at the same arena in Florida. Only “essential personnel” will be in the arena, according to White.

“The UFC organization is a renowned entertainment brand that’s presented a safe and sensible plan to use this Jacksonville location, and we are thrilled to have our city highlighted nationally,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said.

UFC 249 was almost held on tribal land in central California earlier this month, but the show was postponed April 9 at the insistence of ESPN and Disney, the UFC’s broadcast partners.

The UFC has been out of action since holding a full fight card in an empty arena in Brazil on March 14. But White has been determined to return to action while the rest of the sports world remains shut down.

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