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Morning Report: Bob Arum blasts Dana White for trying to promote fights amid coronavirus: ‘He ought to be ashamed of himself’

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Bob Arum
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

For weeks now, the sporting world has been at a standstill with the coronavirus pandemic forcing all major sports leagues to postpone or cancel their seasons. The one exception to this is the UFC who, despite having postponed three events in March due to the virus, is dead set on kicking things back into gear with UFC 249 on April 18. UFC President Dana White’s steadfast insistence on holding an event in just two weeks runs in direct opposition to the various authorities urging all persons to practice social distancing as a way to stem the spread of the global pandemic, and a longtime White foe is laying into him for it.

Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum has long had a contentious relationship with the UFC President, and speaking with CBS Sports’ State of Combat podcast, Arum lambasted White for his disregard of the seriousness of the current climate.

“He ought to be ashamed of himself,” Arum said. “What’s going on in this country and the world with this virus, the last thing we need is for an event to take place with no spectators just to get the event to take place. But the truth is Dana White is somebody with a flawed intelligence.”

Arum and White have a sordid history of taking shots at one another in public, as fight promoters are wont to do. But right now, White may be too busy to fire back at his old rival as he is desperately trying to move forward with a card that at this time, still does not even have a set location. Even after the recent announcement that Khabib Nurmagomedov may not be able to compete on April 18th due to being stranded in Russia as a result of travel restrictions, the UFC is reportedly looking at replacement fights to make sure the show goes on. And Arum thinks Dana White is doomed for failure. Even if the UFC can put together a card for April 18, Arum believes it is shameful and short-sighted for White to act such a way in defiance of overwhelming medical and scientific sentiment.

“He’s not going to move forward with the card, and if the card happens with people dying in hospitals all over the United States, he ought to be ashamed of himself,” Arum said. “The message should be stay home and stand down until this is over. Let’s not spread the virus, let’s control the virus and do what we can to staff these hospitals and take care of people who go into intensive care.

”Let’s all be big people and big boys about it and stop the grandstanding. This will end when it ends, and it will end quicker if we all stick together and do what we are supposed to do, not go and shout from the rafters that, ‘I’m not a p-ssy and I’m going to put this fight on. I don’t care.’ That is absolutely the wrong message to send.”

In contrast, Arum has made it clear that there is no set timeline for the previously scheduled Top Rank fights to take place. Instead, Arum insists that the best way to handle this unfortunate situation is to follow the guidelines of the medical professionals, and wait for the pandemic to run its course. Then, when things have settled down and the risk of spreading COVID-19 is substantially less, Arum says he’ll start making fight plans again.

“People ask me what plans I’m making for these fights when we will get the all clear,” Arum said. “Because I don’t know when the all clear is going to be and I have no idea whether it will be two months, three months or even the rest of the year, I’m not making any plans right now. When this thing looks like it’s clearing up, we will start making plans.”


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Four days house arrest. During a global pandemic where everyone is supposed to stay inside anyway. What an absolute joke.

Also, today marks my 1,000th Morning Report. When I first started for MMA Fighting, I never would’ve thought I’d make it this long. Thanks for sticking with me all this time, even those of you who hate me.



Who do you side with?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Bob Arum
    (616 votes)
  • 40%
    Dana White
    (423 votes)
1039 votes total Vote Now

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