April 7 (UPI) -- UFC president Dana White says an April 18 UFC bout between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje is "100 percent on" and will air on ESPN.
White also said he has "secured an island," which could serve as a venue for the main event of UFC 249. The UFC president announced the matchup for the interim lightweight championship belt Monday on social media. The UFC also announced a 12-bout fight card for the event.
"The fight is signed and is 100 percent on, live on ESPN, somewhere on earth," White wrote on Twitter and Instagram, referencing the main event.
Khabib Nurmagomedov was initially scheduled to fight Ferguson before Nurmagomedov said April 1 he will be staying in quarantine in Russia due to the coronavirus pandemic. That fight was planned for April 18 in New York City.
Sources told ESPN Sunday that the UFC is targeting a West Coast venue for the new bout, which will likely take place without fans in attendance.
"I've also secured an island. I've got an island," White told ESPN. "The infrastructure is being built right now. We're going to do all of our international fights on this island. When we do this fight on April 18, international and U.S., we're going to start cranking. The UFC will be back up and running internationally and the U.S."
UFC 249's main event will be available starting at 10 p.m. ET April 18 on pay-per-view through ESPN+. The preliminary matchups will start at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
White also announced a co-main event bout between Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade. The UFC 249 fight card also includes: Francis Ngannou against Jairzinho Rozenstruik; Vicente Luque against Niko Price; Greg Hardy against Yorgan De Castro; Jeremy Stephens against Calvin Kattar; Uriah Hall against Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza; Sijara Eubanks against Sarah Moras; Alexander "The Great" Hernandez against Omar Morales; Marlon Vera against Ray Borg; Michael Johnson against Khama Worthy; and Ryan Spann against Sam Alvey.
"I'm terrified and I [expletive] love it," Gaethje tweeted Monday.
White still must overcome several obstacles if he hopes to hold UFC 249. On Monday, the Association of Ringside Physicians called for an indefinite suspension of all combat sports events due to the pandemic. The move likely means White would have to find ringside physicians to work at the event, against the Association of Ringside Physicians' recommendations.
The UFC will also likely have to hire its own judges and referees and self-regulate the event, as many state athletic commissions in the U.S. will not allow such an event to talk place amid the pandemic.
Ferguson is 25-3 and has won 12 consecutive fights entering UFC 249. He hasn't lost since 2012. Gaethje (21-2) has won three consecutive fights.