UFC President Dana White promised that his fight promotion would be the first major sport back in business. As long as he isn’t derailed, the MMA juggernaut will resume some semblance of normal operations with an abnormal slate of three events in an eight-day span in Jacksonville, Fla.
NASCAR is hot on the heels of the UFC, preparing to return to action with a similar plan in place, according to NBC Sports.
UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje will restart the UFC’s engine on May 9 with a revamped fight card. Tony Ferguson squares off with Justin Gaethje in the main event in a battle for the interim lightweight title. The winner is expected to face Khabib Nurmagomedov in the fall. The fight card also features bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo defending against former titleholder Dominick Cruz in the new co-main event. UFC 249 is stacked from top to bottom.
The UFC will follow the pay-per-view event with two Fight Night cards, one on Wednesday, May 13, and another on Saturday, May 16. All three will take place in an empty VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena and with numerous extra safety protocols in place because of the coronavirus crisis.
NASCAR on Thursday announced that it would follow suit, returning to operations with seven races in 11 days beginning on May 17 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. The organization will hold three races over four days in Darlington before moving to the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina on May 24, where it will hold four races in four days.
Like the UFC, all the NASCAR races will be closed to fans and operate with only necessary personnel in attendance. Other precautions include:
- Use of personal protective equipment throughout the event.
- Health screenings for all individuals prior to entering the facility, while inside the facility and exiting the facility.
- Social distancing protocols throughout the event.
- Strict limits on the number of individuals who are granted access into each facility.