Dubai: UFC’s boss Dana White’s best efforts to keep the venue for UFC 249 a secret from ‘creeps’ have been dashed with news that the April 18 blockbuster will take place at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in the desolate tribal farmland of Lemoore in California.
The casino is located on land belonging to the Tachi-Yokut tribe, part of the federally recognised Santa Rosa Indian Community.
Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje will fight for the interim UFC lightweight title as reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who looked set to put his 155-pound belt on the line against Ferguson, has been stranded in Russia due to a travel ban amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
White, who has faced major criticism for trying to stage the event in the midst of the deadly coronavirus outbreak that is sweeping the globe had repeatedly refused to reveal the location for the event.
“There’s a lot of creepy people out there, and when they find out the location, they will start attacking the location and making phone calls,” White told ESPN earlier this week.
However, Jeff Sherwood, founder of sherdog.com and co-host of Behind the Paywall, MMA podcast, first broke the location story on his Twitter account, @TheSherdoggy, and also quipped: “Maybe I’ll get an invite.”
The Native American Reservation has a population of just over 650 people and since it resides on tribal land is exempt from the stay-at-home order in the US.
More importantly, the UFC will not have to worry about interference from the California State Athletic Commission, which it would have had to for any other location.
Santa Rosa Rancheria was established in 1934 on about 40 acres and belongs to the federally recognised Tachi Yokuts tribe.
Of the 3,796,742 square miles comprising the United States, reservations occupy a total of 49,933 square miles, or roughly 1.3 per cent of the total area.