The UFC will kick off a string of three events in eight days, starting with UFC 249 on Saturday, as UFC president Dana White has pushed to be at the forefront of the first live sporting events in the U.S. since the coronavirus pandemic stopped normal life in its tracks.
He's not slowing down, either. White told Sports Illustrated the UFC is putting on a fight in Las Vegas on May 23, their fourth event in a two-week span.
"I love the fact that these guys in Jacksonville have been so receptive and helpful," White went on to say about the upcoming events. "Instead of fighting us, they worked with us and figured out how we could pull it off safely. Somebody has to be first, right? Eventually. You just can't hide forever. Who gets to determine how long we go without sports? It's a really weird situation, in a weird time."
White didn't name a venue for the fight in Las Vegas, and he would need clearance from the Nevada State Athletic Commission before the fight could happen.
Four fights between May 9 and May 23 would put the UFC on its "regular schedule," according to White. Then "Fight Island" will open.
"Everybody has this image in their mind of Fight Island, like something out of a video game," White told SI. "It will be a lot more modern than that. There won't be tiki torches or any of that s—. … We’re gonna use it a lot until the world gets normal again. We're gonna need it for our international fights — a place where people can fly in and out easily, without needing a bunch of visas and red tape."
The return of UFC on May 9 is headlined by the fight for the interim lightweight title between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.