Bellator president Scott Coker has concerns about how quickly the UFC is returning to action.
While most major sporting organizations and leagues are currently shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC is gearing up for a faster than expected return on May 9 with UFC 249.
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The pay-per-view event is scheduled to take place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, and if the event goes swimmingly, the promotion will host another two events within the seven-day period.
A UFC Fight Night card is scheduled for Wednesday, May 13, at the same location, with another event to follow suit on May 16.
Speaking to MMA Junkie last week, Coker stated that the UFC’s determined approach could have drastic consequences not just for the UFC but other mixed martial arts promotions, as well.
“That’s pretty ambitious,” Coker said.
“I don’t know what’s their protocol. That’s the one thing I would say: Let’s all be sensible because at the end of the day, if you don’t figure it out and you don’t have all the answers, there could be something bad that happens. And then everybody is backtracking, everybody is going to be in a defensive position, and it’s going to affect everybody. Not just them, but us as well.
“If it was a situation where the communication was – if I was talking to [UFC vice president of regulatory affairs] Marc Ratner, I would just say, ‘Hey, Marc. Be careful, man, because this is a very serious situation. Make sure everything gets done properly because we don’t want to have something bad happen in this sport.”
UFC 249 will be sanctioned by the Florida State Athletic Commission, who released this statement to ESPN:
“Florida’s State Commission and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation have been in continued coordination with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to identify options for bringing the UFC to Florida for upcoming events.”
“Florida welcomes the UFC to the Sunshine State, and our commission stands ready to sanction the events to be held on May 9, 13 and 16. Health and safety protocols will be in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all individuals who are helping to make these events possible.”
As the UFC moves forward through the pandemic, Bellator’s timeline for return is sometime in July, according to Coker.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.