UFC 249 in jeopardy as New York state bans large public gatherings

Ufc 249, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson, Dana White

The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the sporting world. UFC 249 could be one of its next causalities.

On Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that gatherings of more than 500 people will be forbidden in the state effective tomorrow (Friday, March 13).

UFC 249 is scheduled for April 18 in Brooklyn, New York. Given that the event, which is headlined by a lightweight title fight between undefeated champ Khabib Nurmagomedov  and streaking challenger Tony Ferguson, is expected to draw thousands of fight fans to the Barclays Center, the problem is immediately clear.

While the UFC 249 card has not yet been officially canceled, postponed or relocated by the UFC, it doesn’t seem likely that it will go down as initially planned.

Luckily, it’s possible the card could still happen.

The UFC could conceivably move the event to its new Apex facility in Las Vegas, which is reportedly what it intends to do for the upcoming UFC Columbus card. The state of Ohio recently laid out a ban on public gatherings not unlike the one that will begin in New York tomorrow, hence the promotion’s reported plan to move the event.

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson have been scheduled to fight four times previously, yet the matchup has fallen through on each attempt. The widespread hope among fight fans was that the matchup would finally occur at UFC 249, but it seems things are still up in the air.

At present, the UFC still hasn’t made a statement regarding its plans for the coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that other organizations like the NHL, MLB, NBA and ONE Championship have all addressed the issue. Stay tuned for updates on that, and on UFC 249, as details emerge.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/12/2020.