Despite how positive and confident all parties involved with UFC 249 may be, there is a realistic laundry list of things that could potentially go wrong as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) gears up to stage “Ferguson vs. Gaethje” this Saturday night (May 9, 2020) in the face of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
While Dana White and Co. are adamant they have taken every measure to protect all of the promotion’s fighters, corner men and employees, it takes just one small hiccup to throw off the entire program. Nevertheless, UFC seems to have all bases covered, recently revealing its safety protocols for the upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) event, as well as two other cards that are set to take place in Jacksonville, Fla., soon thereafter.
Among them are possible scheduled weigh-in times for each fighter to avoid having an unnecessary cluster of people in a room at one time. According to ESPN, the promotion informed Dr. Donald Muzzi — president of the Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP) — that it is highly-likely that the protocol will be in place come Friday.
While the move is obviously a positive one for fighter safety, it could potentially have a negative impact on some.
When the promotion moved from its traditional mid-day weigh-ins to earlier weigh-ins back in 2016, it allowed all fighters to get the nerve-wrecking requirement out of the way, giving them more time to re-hydrate for fight night. It was also beneficial due to the fact that all athletes were given a generous window of time to attempt his or her first weigh-in, allowing them to report at any time they wanted to during the pre-determined time frame.
Should the promotion issue a set time for each combatant to report, it could be a hindrance to some, especially those who get a less-than-desirable time slot, as many fighters need every second they can get to cut the required weight. Should some miss weight for that reason or another (fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen) it could present another issue.
If more than one fighter is required to weigh in a second time, the promotion will have to figure out a way to get them and possible members of his or her team back in the room without unfairly giving another fighter extra time to lose weight in the meantime.
On the bright side, fighters will not have the customary media-obligated duties such as open workouts and media day, which usually span over a couple of days. That means all combatants will now have more time to solely focus on cutting the final pounds.
Weight-cutting is a science, and trainers and nutritionists have their own highly-specific and detailed system that allows their fighters to hit the mark. As a result of the proposed scheduled times to weigh in, it will more than likely force them to tweak their routine and techniques the day prior (and morning of).
Just one of the many challenges that lie ahead for all parties involved.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 249 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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