news 4 days ago

Dana White trying to build 'baddest card' for UFC 249, denies job cuts

Sporting News — customerservice@sportingnews.com (Sporting News)

UFC president Dana White said he is trying to build the "baddest card" in the history of mixed martial arts for UFC 249 despite the coronavirus pandemic.

White has said the venue for the lightweight title showdown between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is "99.9 percent" confirmed, though UFC 249 will be a closed event without fans because of the health emergency.

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UFC 249 was originally set for Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 18, but the COVID-19 crisis has forced White to consider other options, with additional fights possible.

"We're building a card where people can still maneuver and still get in," White told ESPN. "We're trying to build the baddest card that's ever been done in the history of the sport. … Some of the things are going to work out, and some of the things might not work out.

"We're trying to figure out if they don't, what do we do? … Actually, Francis [Ngannou] is one of the guys we're looking at, too. Yes, yes, yes [against Jairzinho Rozenstruik]."

More than 21,100 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide, while there have been more than 468,600 confirmed cases. In the United States, casualties have moved past 1,000 as cases rise to more than 65,000.

The health emergency has brought sports to a standstill and led to job losses across the globe.

White denied a report claiming the UFC would begin laying off a number of employees.

"Not true," he told TMZ Sports. "Nobody's getting laid off; it's not gonna happen."