First Major U.S. Sporting Event Returns After COVID-19 with UFC 249 in Jacksonville Tonight

By  //  May 9, 2020

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MAIN EVENT: Tony Ferguson faces Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title

ABOVE VIDEO: UFC president Dana White calls into Golic and Wingo to discuss the measures he’s put in place to have UFC 249 go on in Jacksonville, Florida. White describes the conversation he’s had with fighters, camps and staff about the events going forward as well as the latest on (5:32) fight island.

(ESPN) – Years ago, UFC events were not just numbered, but also titled. The promotion doesn’t do that anymore, but if the practice were still in place, Saturday’s fight card in Jacksonville, Florida — the promotion’s first since March 14 — might be called UFC 249: The Return of Fighting.

The story of UFC 249 isn’t just about the return of the sport, though. It’s a chance for the UFC to seize a moment at a time when people around the world are looking for entertainment. This card was built to provide just that.

“The card’s just so deep,” said Chael Sonnen, co-host of Ariel & The Bad Guy and a three-time UFC title challenger. “For a new fan that doesn’t know the stories behind the fights, they’re just going to enjoy a good night of action. But for the hard-core fans, this is an absolute treat. I gotta say: Do we even deserve this? As fight fans, have we done anything good enough to deserve a card this loaded?”

We’ve waited long enough, Chael. We do deserve it. Let’s talk about those stories.

In the main event, Tony Ferguson faces Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title. Ferguson is an unpredictable action fighter on a 12-fight win streak. Gaethje is known as “The Highlight” because of his, well, highlight-reel finishes.

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