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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In an attempt to skirt federal and state guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC plans to hold its April 18 pay-per-view event on tribal land in California, per multiple reports.

The state of play: Even as the rest of the sports world hits pause, UFC president Dana White has remained adamant that fights must go on, and appears to have settled for a shutdown casino in a state with the fourth-most confirmed cases of coronavirus.

  • That relentlessness could ultimately be a boon for business (UFC 249 will be available on ESPN+), but it also paints him as somewhat of a villain, willing to bend the rules and go to extreme lengths to ensure fighters can keep punching each other on camera and making him money.

The location: Tachi Palace Casino Resort, which is about 40 miles south of Fresno and sits on land belonging to the Tachi-Yokut tribe.

  • The loophole: By holding UFC 249 on tribal land, the UFC isn't subject to California's stay-at-home order and fights don't need to be sanctioned by the state's athletic commission, which has canceled all bouts through May 31.
  • The headliners: The event will feature 12 fights, headlined by the interim lightweight championship between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, who is replacing Khabib Nurmagomedov (unable to travel from Russia).
  • The island: White also claims he's secured a private island to stage events with international fighters who can't travel to the U.S.

The backdrop: The Association of Ringside Physicians has urged the suspension of all combat sports, which could impede the UFC's attempt to hire ringside doctors.

"Any combat sport taking place during this global pandemic places the athletes, officials, and anyone else involved in the event under unnecessary risk of infection .... In addition, combat sports athletes often require medical attention after a bout, and we do not wish to see any additional strain on an already overwhelmed medical system."
— Association of Ringside Physicians statement

Go deeper: No one knows when the coronavirus sports shutdown will end

Go deeper

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after 3rd woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch, a former member of the Obama administration and the 2020 Biden campaign, told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.