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Morning Report: Daniel Cormier outlines UFC’s planned precautions to mitigate coronavirus for UFC 249

Daniel Cormier Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Last week, UFC President Dana White was finally forced to submit to the coronavirus pandemic, indefinitely postponing UFC 249 and all planned future events. The outcome followed weeks of effort from White to put on the event, come hell or high water. In the end, White’s plans were undone when senior leaders at ESPN requested the UFC stop with its efforts. Had that not occurred, UFC 249 would likely still be taking place this weekend and one of the men set to commentate the event, Daniel Cormier, says he would have felt safe about doing so.

Speaking with ESPN on Monday, the former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion outlined the “crazy” precautions the UFC had set in place for the event, saying he felt like he would’ve been safer at UFC 249 than he has been anywhere else.

“So they called me, told me the procedures in terms of what was going to happen, you know I’m a guy when go places, generally I’m not by myself,” Cormier explained. “Somebody goes or I’ve got friends and I take them to the fights or if I’ve got a friend in the town that we’re fighting I invite them to the fight. So being in California, one of the biggest worries for me was, no one can go with you. Like nobody.

“They said ‘DC, you’ve got to come alone. You’re going to check into the hotel, they’re going to screen you and make sure you’re okay, do everything. Then you’re going to go into the arena, call the fights, and then you’re going to leave.’ In terms of what they were going to do to try and protect us, it was crazy. [Joe] Rogan, myself, and [Jon] Anik - the octagon has eight sides - we would each be on a different side of the octagon just to make sure we were social distancing away from each other.

“By the time I was done with this conversation, I felt like I was almost safer at the event than I am anywhere else because it’s only people that are OK, we’re all away from each other, and then you go and get paid, and you’re there for a day. I could have drove up Saturday morning, called the fights, drove home Saturday night. It was perfect for me.”

Cormier lived in California, making the commute to UFC 249 potentially less risky for contracting or spreading COVID-19, however one of the chief concerns about the safety of the event was flying fighters and trainers in from all over the country, and then flying them back. Even with testing and elevated precautions, detractors argued that UFC 249 presented an unnecessary risk during these tumultuous times. Cormier, though, feels that the steps the UFC had taken were sufficient enough to carry on with the event.

“[All I would do is] drive in, check into the hotel, get my stuff checked and then go call the fights and come back,” Cormier said. “We were gonna have nothing. We weren’t gonna have a make-up person, we all had our own locker rooms, it was just gonna be, ‘Okay, time to go to the octagon, call those fights, time to go back.’ It felt like they had taken the right steps to ensure everybody was going to be okay.”

Of course, many people do not agree with Cormier, which is largely why the event was ultimately canceled. White’s insistence on continuing to hold events made the UFC the target of a large amount of criticism, especially in light of the rest of the sports world being shut down. Criticism has never stopped White before though and even now, the UFC President is adamant that the UFC will be the first sporting event back, as soon as it is feasible to do so. And after hearing their now-defunct plans for this weekend, Cormier is fully on board.

“I don’t disagree with what he’s doing,” Cormier said of White. “I want fights! I really do. So to watch him put all this effort into trying to make it happen, it’s a little crazy but it’s what needs to happen. Everybody - we’re all kind of like waiting. No one really knows what to do and somebody has to show that there’s a way to get going again. . . Somebody has to do something. The NBA wants to get going. Baseball wants to get going. Everybody wants to get going but everybody’s just kind of waiting and is so afraid to jump that we’re just all standing still. I think the UFC tried and I honestly think that it would’ve worked. If the fight went on last week, it would’ve worked.”


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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



What do you think of the UFC’s precautions?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    They would have been good.
    (412 votes)
  • 42%
    They were not enough to justify it.
    (302 votes)
714 votes total Vote Now

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