Updated April 14, 2020 - 6:27 pm
The UFC is eyeing May 9 as a return date in its quest to be the first major U.S. sport to return amid the coronavirus pandemic.
An interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje is expected to headline UFC 250. No location has been announced.
Sources close to the organization told the Review-Journal there are three states willing to host the event. UFC president Dana White continues to insist his so-called “Fight Island” concept of a private island where fighters can be isolated to train and compete is still going to become a reality, though it’s not likely to be ready for this date.
Ferguson and Gaethje were booked as the main event for UFC 249. The card went through several incarnations before California officials asked Disney to shut down the broadcast, which was set to take place on tribal land between Bakersfield and Fresno on April 18 and be distributed on pay-per-view through ESPN Plus.
The reconfigured UFC 250 card, which had been scheduled for Rio de Janeiro, is loaded with star power should the targeted bouts come to fruition.
Bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo is expected to defend his belt against former champ Dominick Cruz, and women’s featherweight champ Amanda Nunes could meet Felicia Spencer.
White indicated Tuesday to ESPN that a welterweight bout between Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Anthony Pettis has been orally agreed to by both fighters.
Two heavyweight bouts from UFC 249 are expected to be rescheduled for the event.
Former NFL star Greg Hardy is booked against Yorgan de Castro, and Las Vegan Francis Ngannou will take on fellow contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
The UFC held an event March 14 in an empty venue in Brazil, one of the last major sporting events to take place.
UFC events on March 21, March 28, April 11 and April 18 have been postponed.
White confirmed to the Review-Journal that he is one of several sports executives who has been added to a panel tasked with helping President Donald Trump determine how to restart the economy, including a return of sports.