UFC Will Be ‘First Sport Back On TV,’ Company President Says

It’s not too early to start shopping betting lines for UFC 249 slated for April 18, the only UFC event currently on the menu for Indiana online/mobile sportbooks. The other cards have been postponed indefinitely, but UFC 249 is still a go, at least for now.

In an Instagram post, UFC President Dana White reiterated that the card will take place, and he reassured fans that it won’t be canceled “unless the whole world f–king implodes.” He added that the UFC, which has its own small production studio at its Las Vegas headquarters, “will be the first sport back on TV” in the U.S. Every other sport in the country has been indefinitely postponed.

The UFC was one of the last sports around the globe to stop after the outbreak, as it still held its UFC Fight Night 170: Brasilia on March 14, without fans.

Location up in the air

Despite his aggressive optimism for holding UFC 249, White indicated that a location for the event hasn’t been ironed out yet. It was originally slated for New York. It’s unclear whether the fight could happen in Las Vegas, as even the iconic Las Vegas Strip was ordered by the governor to close this week. Earlier this week, White floated the possibility of holding it on a tribal reservation in Oklahoma. That appears unlikely to happen, as more tribal casinos closed across the state late this week.

It could happen overseas, but White hasn’t given names of possible countries yet.

The reason why the organization is holding on for dear life to UFC 249? The card has arguably the biggest bout in the history of the organization lined up, at least from a competitive standpoint. While the card, which features the long-awaited Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson fight, was never going to generate the most PPV buys for the promotion, it’s the first time in UFC history where two fighters riding double-digit win streaks are scheduled to square off.

It’s a massive event for books, and it would be a big loss if it doesn’t happen. FanDuel has Nurmagomedov at -270 and Ferguson at +220. The fight is +130 to go the distance, as it’s expected to be a war.

Nurmagomedov is slowly but surely making a case for MMA G.O.A.T. status, further necessitating the need for the fight. The two fighters were first slated to meet in 2015, and there have been four cancellations of the matchup since then due to injuries.

Also in the Instagram post, White insisted that all the bouts that have so far been scheduled will be crammed into the calendar later in the year, potentially creating stacked cards for bettors in the fall.