Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was gearing up for yet another fight week, as the cast and crew of the UFC 216 pay-per-view (PPV) event, scheduled for Sat., Oct. 7, 2017, prepared to make hay while the sun shined on T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
Now, UFC 216 headliners Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson must compete for the promotion’s interim title in the long shadow of the Las Vegas shooting, which claimed the lives of 59 concertgoers while injuring hundreds more.
“It’s hard just to even talk about the fight. There’s so much bigger things in life,” Lee said (via MMA Fighting). “Me and Tony, we might have a lot of back and forth, we might have a lot of disrespect, I might not like him, and at the end of the day he’s going to be disappointed with the result — but I hope he goes home. I hope he enjoys his life, he enjoys his family, and he can keep on living. I would hope the same for me.”
Despite the tragedy at the nearby Mandalay Bay, the promotion will continue on with UFC 216.
“I’m just so surprised that they’re still allowing this fight,” Ferguson told Ariel Helwani. “That just kinda just says something where it’s like when you lose and you win your next fight, you’re only as good as your last fight. Instead of forgetting it, I’m bringing it with me. I’m bringing the people that were harmed, that were injured, that are not here anymore. The people that went through the bullsh-t and had that sense of security missing. It’s bullshit.”
The show must go on, or something like that.
Both Lee and Ferguson are riding impressive winning streaks and have more than earned their shot at a UFC world title. If all goes as planned, the winner will likely take part in a title unification bout against division kingpin Conor McGregor, though it probably won’t happen in 2017.
In the co-main event, Demetrious Johnson will face off against Ray Borg in a flyweight title fight previously slotted for UFC 215. Also, Derrick Lewis will look to get back on the winning track when he collides against Fabricio Werdum in a hard-hitting heavyweight affair.
To see who else is fighting at UFC 217 click here.