John McCarthy says there is big pressure on UFC to succeed ahead of 249 show

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Brian Barry

Wednesday 6 May 2020 19:01, UK

 at Universiade Sports Centre on August 31, 2019 in Shenzhen, China. 3:27
John McCarthy is behind UFC holding their event behind closed doors this weekend, but feels there's a lot of pressure on the promotion to succeed

UFC 249 is set to eventually take place this weekend, as the focus of the MMA world hones in on Jacksonville, Florida for the star-studded line-up.

Much has been made of the promotion making a move last month to hold the show in California, but it has now been set for the 'Sunshine State' behind closed doors this Saturday.

"There was a big difference between the two. I call it UFC 249.1 and now UFC 249.2," former UFC referee and now-Bellator commentator John McCarthy told Sky Sports.

"The state of California was saying no. California State Athletic Commission was saying 'we cannot regulate that' and they were trying to go through the back door to do something, so I didn't agree with it because I thought it was bad for UFC to do that, it just didn't look good.

"This one, I'm 100 per cent behind. I hope they have an incredible show. It is being regulated by the Florida State Athletic Commission. They are doing everything they can to be as on top of things as possible with the coronavirus, doing testing and stuff. I hope they have a great show."

Being the first to really come back, you have a lot of pressure on you not only for your own promotion, but every promotion including combative sports like boxing, they're all looking at you going 'don't screw this up'.
McCarthy feels there is pressure on the UFC this weekend

Sports administrators around the globe will be keeping an eye on proceedings, observing how the event plays out.

"I think that Scott Coker [Bellator president] will be watching very closely and monitoring exactly what happens off of that show," continued McCarthy.

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"Being the first to really come back, you have a lot of pressure on you not only for your own promotion, but every promotion including combative sports like boxing, they're all looking at you going 'don't screw this up'.

"So there is pressure there. That's tough. You've got to do it right, and I believe they will do it right. And by that I think it's going to help people in combat sports come out and start getting back to being normal."

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Meanwhile, McCarthy said Bellator is expected to make its return soon.

"Bellator is going to be coming back somewhere in summertime, we're talking. I believe our first show is going to be sometime in June. It's possible that it could be pushed off until July," he explained.

"They're going full-tilt. They're going to go just the amount of shows, the same as what the UFC is doing. They're going to make up all those shows. So Bellator is going to make them up - people are going to have some incredible match-ups.

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"We've gone so long with having nothing, so everything is going to be compacted, and it should be an incredible end of the year, insofar as being able to watch great match-ups and fights."