The UFC returns to action Saturday night with a pay-per-view show in Florida headlined by lightweights Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje — two fighters who understand the importance of professional sports amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The 24 fighters at UFC 249 said they see the first mixed martial arts promotion in eight weeks as an opportunity to bring normalcy and inspiration to the American people, U.S. News & World Report reports.
"We're going to bring a sense of normalcy to people," Gaethje said. "I'm proud to be a part of it. It's the opportunity to inspire. People need to be inspired right now. They need to not let themselves become depressed [or] emotional because they can't control what's going on right now. We've got to ride it through. They need to be inspired, and we can do that."
Gaethje's opponent, Ferguson, said it is the fighters' job to compete.
"We've got to go out there and keep sports alive," Ferguson said Tuesday.
Now that UFC President Dana White has found both a state and athletic commission willing to host his promotions, UFC 249 will be followed by additional events on May 13, May 16, and tentatively May 23.