UFC president Dana White said Conor McGregor is “ready to go” as the Irish star eyes a bout on “Fight Island” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 has brought sports and the UFC to a standstill but mixed martial arts will return in Florida, where Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje will headline UFC 249 behind closed doors on Saturday.
After unbeaten lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov had to be replaced as Ferguson’s opponent because of travel restrictions, White has been working on staging international bouts on a private island. While reluctant to have McGregor fighting without fans, White said the former featherweight and lightweight champion – who last fought in January – is itching to return.
“Conor’s been ready to fight for a while. He’s in shape. He’s ready to go,” White told CBS Sports Network’s The Jim Rome Show. “First of all, ‘Fight Island’ is going to be very important in any of these fights that are happening with people from outside the country.
“He and I were texting. He’s asking me what date can I fight on ‘Fight Island’ and will there be fans. Conor’s asking me, Conor wants to fight.
“It kills me to do a fight with Conor without fans. Kills me. This guy’s doing almost $20 million gates.”
UFC 249 was originally set to be held in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 18, but the coronavirus crisis forced the event to be relocated and rescheduled. On Tuesday, UFC 251 in Perth was postponed because of COVID-19, having been scheduled for June 7.
The postponement came after UFC 250 in Sao Paulo was postponed, as well as events in Nebraska, Oklahoma City and San Diego.