As part of a long, gruelling — some say misguided — attempt by Dana White to bring sports back to our televisions, UFC 249 is on the air, as we speak. It brings with it one of the best fight cards of 2020. Crazily, on Friday one fighter on the card (alongside two of his cornermen) tested positive for coronavirus. He has now been removed from the event and the show will continue.
A quick history lesson before we dive in: We thought UFC 249 was going to take place on an island, as part of a Mortal Kombat-esque plan to escape Covid-19 restrictions (in this scenario Dana White is Shao Kahn). Then UFC 249 was apparently going to take place on tribal land at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, California. Then it got cancelled after the UFC's partners ESPN and Disney stepped in.
Now UFC 249 has been resurrected from the dead. It is alive and taking place in Florida, thanks to a change in restrictions in that state. It looks like UFC might be the first sport to get back up and running after the coronavirus.
Many of the fights originally scheduled on the original UFC 249 are still present on this new card. Namely, its main event: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje. No, it's not Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov as originally planned, but outside of getting Conor McGregor in, it's the next best thing.
Ferguson vs Gaethje is an awesome interim title fight. A battle between two human bulls, two athletes who will march forward no matter what. Gaethje, especially, has been in practically nothing but fight of the year contenders. He will kick your legs till you cannot walk. Ferguson is also known for his incredible cardio and pressure. I can't wait for this one.
UFC 249 has also been bolstered by a second title fight, between Henry Cejudo and Dominick Cruz — also a compelling contest. Cejudo is a two-division champ and an Olympic gold medalist; Cruz is probably the best UFC bantamweight of all time. Cruz arguably shouldn't be getting this opportunity (his last fight was a loss, three and a half years ago) but this will a tough fight to call. Cruz has proven to be remarkably immune to ring rust.
Outside the two titles fights, this card runs deep. It's jam packed with stars: Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Michelle Waterson all feature. As does Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik, a terrifying contest between arguably the two most dangerous heavyweights in the UFC.
You'd be mad to miss this one,
How to watch UFC 249
This year the UFC entered a new partnership with ESPN. That's great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. If you want to watch UFC live in the US especially.
In the US, if you're looking for how to watch UFC 249, you'll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN's site.
- Existing yearly ESPN Plus subscribers can order the upcoming UFC fight for $65.
- Existing monthly ESPN Plus subscribers will be able to either upgrade to an annual plan and buy UFC PPV for $85 or purchase the ability to watch UFC PPV for $65 by itself.
- New ESPN Plus subscribers can buy a bundle of one UFC PPV event (streaming in HD) and an ESPN Plus annual recurring subscription for $85. The ESPN Plus annual ESPN subscription will autorenew after one year, at the price of an ESPN Plus annual subscription at the time of autorenewal.
You can do all of the above at the link below.
MMA fans in the UK looking for how to watch UFC 249, will find it exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options to watch UFC live if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 249 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also stream online on the UFC website or watch UFC live online using its app to stream on your computer or smart TVs. You can even order UFC using your PlayStation 4 to watch the fight or stream using the UFC app on your Xbox One.
UFC 249 takes place on Saturday, May 9 in the US. Although unlike most UFC events we can expect, given the current situation with COVID-19, this is a fluid situation. Times and dates could change at any time. We'll endeavour to keep this as up-to-date as possible.
- The main card starts at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT)
- The prelims start at 8 p.m. ET
- The early prelims start at 6:15 p.m. ET
(Note in the UK UFC 249 starts Sunday May 10.)
- The main card starts at 3 a.m. GMT
- The prelims start at 1 a.m. GMT
- The early prelims start at 11:15 p.m. GMT
(Note in Australia UFC 249 starts on Sunday, May 10.)
- The main card starts at 12 p.m. AEDT
- The prelims start at 10 a.m. AEDT
- The early prelims start at 8:15 a.m. AEDT
- Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje
- Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz
- Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
- Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar
- Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro
- Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone
- Aleksei Oleinik vs. Fabricio Werdum
- Carla Esparza vs. Michelle Waterson
- Uriah Hall vs. Ronaldo Souza
- Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price
- Bryce Mitchell vs. Charles Rosa
- Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey