UFC president Dana White remains adamant that a UFC 249 pay-per-view event on April 18 will take place at an undisclosed location, and he’s even looking into adding potential fights to the card.
White told ESPN on Wednesday the UFC could make several changes to the UFC 249 event, which currently consists of 13 fights. A lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is set to headline the card.
The event was originally scheduled to take place in Brooklyn.
Due to logistical challenges caused by the coronavirus, White previously told ESPN he expects the card to undergo changes. On Wednesday, White said he’s looking into adding to the lineup, including some big fights that have been postponed this month.
“We’re trying to build the baddest card that’s ever been done in the history of the sport,” White said. “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 [some things] don’t work out, what we do.”
White specifically mentioned a heavyweight bout between Francis Ngannou (14-3) and Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0), which was supposed to headline UFC Fight Night this weekend in Columbus, as a potential addition to the UFC 249 lineup.
Late last week, Ngannou was tested for the coronavirus by UFC physicians and results have since came back negative. The French-Cameroonian heavyweight said he is eager to fight on April 18, if the UFC can make it happen.
“I have a good chance to be on that card, Ngannou told ESPN. “They are trying to check every fighter to see if everyone is healthy. Do a medical exam that takes four to five days to come back. I assume that’s what they are doing for the potential fight card. That might be why we don’t have news yet, because we don’t have the medical exams completed.”
Rozenstruik’s manager, Malki Kawa of First Round Management, told ESPN that, as of Wednesday morning, he has not discussed the possibility of rebooking the fight on April 18 with the UFC.
The headline bout between Nurmagomedov (28-0) and Ferguson (25-3) is one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the year. Both are on a 12-fight winning streak.