8 Most Shocking UFC Plans That Almost Happened

The industry leader has never been afraid to push the boundaries, but these were just too far.

Dana White Private Island

As a sport, mixed martial arts has always marched to the beat of its own drum.

This is likely because, out of all the sports that command a portion of the TV audience in the west, MMA is the only one with a history as a codified sport that is so young that it fails to predate the time when The Simpsons was still good.

As the world's leading promotion, the UFC has managed to simultaneously maintain the outlaw reputation it had been branded with for its barbarity during its early years of the sport, and attempt desperately to position itself as a contemporary among the established mainstream sports.

The identity crisis has led the UFC to make a variety of decisions that would be completely unfathomable for other sports leagues, without damaging its reputation among public perception.

Even compared to other combat sports, MMA is pretty wacky. Imagine Eddie Hearn's war of words in the media with Tyson Fury escalating into a planned combative contest in the way Dana White had with Tito Ortiz less than 15 years ago, it just wouldn't happen.

With the plans to hold a flagship event for the company amidst a global crisis recently cancelled, there's no better time to look at some of the craziest UFC plans that nearly came to fruition.

8. UFC 249

The most recent example on this list comes from the debacle surrounding the UFC 249 card, originally set to be headlined by the long-awaited clash between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC Lightweight Championship.

However, the current global situation threw one almighty spanner in the works, and after travelling to Russia, Nurmagomedov became subject to the current travel restrictions affecting many countries worldwide and forcing the fight to be cancelled for a heartbreaking fifth time.

So, one would assume that without its marquee attraction that UFC 249 would just not go ahead, or at least be rescheduled for some time in the future, right?


Dana White announced that lightweight contender Justin Gaethje would step in, in place of Nurmagomedov, and the fight would be contested for the Interim UFC Lightweight Championship, at an undisclosed location that was later revealed to be the Tachi Palace Casino Resort.

Ultimately Disney and ESPN would ask the UFC not to go ahead with the event after mounting concerns in the media about the potential risks to the fighters involved.

The fact that the UFC was prepared to go ahead with an event featuring fighters from all over the world given the current ongoing situation is insane, and more than deserving of a place on this list.

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