UFC boss Dana White has come under heavy return fire from heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic after stating he could be stripped of his belt.
As the UFC gets set for a return on Sunday in Florida, White spoke about how the organisation wouldn’t wait for the heavyweight king who has made it clear he won’t fight until the coronavirus pandemic has passed.
“I saw a quote from Stipe recently where Stipe said, ‘There’s bigger things going on in the world right now, fighting will be there forever.’ – it’s not true,” White told UFC Unfiltered this week. “Fighting will not be here forever.
Watch UFC 249 live Sunday, May 10 from 12pm (AEST) on Main Event. Order here >
“When you’re a professional athlete, your window of opportunity is very small. So, hopefully we can get Stipe back in there soon with (Daniel) Cormier and get the heavyweight division rolling.”
White stated he wasn’t interested in adding an interim-champ into the heavyweight division and
“I think we’ll see a championship fight,” White told Barstool Sports. “Listen, fights can happen right now. You either want to fight or you don’t.”
When asked if a champion might be stripped of a title under these circumstances, White answered “possibly.” But he didn’t definitively say that was the plan for Miocic.
A trilogy fight between Miocic and Cormier has been high on UFC fans’ wish list for some time after Miocic regained his crown with a fourth round TKO in August.
But after hearing White’s remarks, Miocic responded and said he would never turn down a fight.
“I want to fight DC. It’s going to happen period. Im going to give my fans what they want to see,” Miocic wrote.
“My management has been working on dates with UFC. Right now I’m doing what the Governor DeWine is advising and am working as a first responder. I can’t control a global pandemic.
“My head coach can’t open his gym by law right now. I don’t hold myself higher than any other person in regards to what I’m allowed to do. Ohio is under orders until May 29th. The second the gym can open, we begin camp. Plain and simple. I have never ducked anyone.
“I’ve never turned down a fight, and I never will. Strap #6 coming soon.”
WHEN AND WHAT TIME IS UFC 249?
The first taste of live sport for fans around the world will land on Sunday May 10 in Australia, with the undercard getting underway around 9am (AEST) and the main card beginning at 12pm. The main event should kick off around 3pm.
WHERE IS UFC 249?
UFC 249 is scheduled to be held at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida and will take place in front of an empty crowd.
HOW TO WATCH UFC 249 IN AUSTRALIA
You can watch UFC 249 on Main Event, which starts from 12pm and will cost $54.59. If you're a Fight Pass subscriber, you can also stream the entire card there.
UFC 249 CARD
Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje – interim lightweight title
Henry Cejudo vs Dominic Cruz – bantamweight title
Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik – heavyweight
Jeremy Stephens vs Calvin Kattar – featherweight
Greg Hardy vs Yorgan de Castro – heavyweight
Donald Cerrone vs Anthony Pettis – welterweight
Alexei Oleinik vs Fabricio Werdum – heavyweight
Carla Esparza vs Michelle Waterson – strawweight
Uriah Hall vs Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza – middleweight
Early Prelim Card
Vicente Luque vs Niko Price – welterweight
Bryce Mitchell vs Charles Rosa – featherweight
Ryan Spann vs Sam Alvey – Light heavyweight
AUS/NZ FIGHTERS PREDICTIONS
Courtesy of the UFC, here are some tips from some fighters in Australia and New Zealand.
Israel Adesanya – UFC middleweight champion
Gaethje by KO. Not sure which round but I feel he is going to KO Ferguson, crazy fight!
Alex Volkanovski – UFC featherweight champion
I’m already impressed with Tony’s style and his work ethic but what’s even more impressive is the fact he takes these fights, interim champ taking out all the contenders, nothing but respect for the man. This is going to be a fun/ wild fight, I can definitely see both guys winning but I believe Tony will takeover in the second half of the fight with a finish or a decision. Tony keeps proving himself time and time again, hard to bet against a man that is so game and always gets the job done.
Robert Whittaker – No.1 UFC middleweight
This is a great match-up and a tough one to pick. I really love both fighters’ unique style and toughness but I think Gaethje might just be able to do it. He has knockout power, great wrestling, insane chin and cardio for days. He’s also been looking phenomenal lately and just getting better and better. I can’t wait for the weekend. Great card all round and I’m looking forward to seeing Jacare back in action at middleweight.
Dan Hooker – No.5 UFC lightweight
Gaethje blows the chin off his [Ferguson’s] face
Kai Kara-France – No.7 UFC flyweight
Ferguson all day! TKO stoppage in the 4th round.
Jimmy Crute – UFC light heavyweight
Gaethje is a badass and this is a crazy close fight, but I got Ferguson. I think he gets it done on the ground via choke after Gaethje gets tired. Tony’s cardio is too good and he can get it done anywhere. Although, I do think that this is a very dangerous match up for him.
Brad Riddell – UFC lightweight
Gaethje early on up to round 3, from 3 onwards – I pick Tony
Tai Tuivasa – UFC heavyweight
I think Ferguson. He’s just weird and there’s something about him…
Megan Anderson – UFC women’s bantamweight
I’m going with Ferguson on this one. I see him finishing late in the end of 4th of 5th round.
Tyson Pedro – UFC light heavyweight
It’s going to be a war, but I think Ferguson has too many tools and will take him out.
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