Home sports U.F.C. 249, Skirting Coronavirus Limits, Is Set for Tribal Land in California

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U.F.C. 249, Skirting Coronavirus Limits, Is Set for Tribal Land in California

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U.F.C. 249, Skirting Coronavirus Limits, Is Set for Tribal Land in California

“The commission echoes the guidance of the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, the Department of Public Health, local health officials and the recommendations of the Ringside Doctors' Association on canceling events where people may be at risk of contracting Covid -19 and encourage the industry to do the same, ”the California athletic commission said in a statement. “The commission will not participate in the U.F.C. event on April 18, regardless of the location of the event. "

U.F.C. The 249 was originally scheduled to be held on April 18 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and led by a light fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson – one of the most anticipated clashes in the U.F.C. in years. But after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo restricted mass meetings and the New York State Athletic Commission announced it would not authorize the event, White said the U.F.C. would follow in a different location.

On Monday, White said Nurmagomedov, now at home in Dagestan, Russia, was out of action and would be replaced by Justin Gaethje in the fight for the interim lightweight title. Nurmagomedov and Ferguson are scheduled to fight five times since 2015, but each plan fell apart because of injuries, illnesses and now the pandemic.

To schedule fights involving athletes who cannot travel to the United States, White said he secured an island but did not disclose where.

Although the U.F.C. produces all of its own events, the April 18 pay-per-view event will be sold through ESPN +, ESPN's streaming service, and the preliminary card will be scheduled for one of ESPN's cable channels. An ESPN spokeswoman declined to comment on Tuesday.

Tribal casinos, including the Tachi Palace Casino Resort, regularly perform martial arts and boxing matches with the full support and participation of state athletics commissions. World Extreme Cagefighting, a mixed martial arts company founded in 2001, held most of its first two dozen events at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort. It was purchased in 2006 by Zuffa, then the controlling entity of the U.F.C., and merged with the U.F.C. in 2010.

But tribal casinos also sometimes hold mixed martial arts events that cannot be sanctioned elsewhere, a way of shopping in places that most state sports commissions view unfavorably.

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