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.”
Choices. Chris Weidman conflicted about fighting during coronavirus pandemic, awaiting word on a new opponent.
The A-Side Live Chat.
Looking back at UFC 236, one year later.
Jon Jones’ UFC debut, back when he had the best walkout music.
Top 10 debuts in ONE Championship.
The Co-Main Event. Discussing the fiasco that was UFC 249 and its fallout.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Classy from the UFC.
NY Post photographer Anthony Causi was a fighter until the very end.— UFC (@ufc) April 13, 2020
He will be missed. Rest in Peace. pic.twitter.com/KgoUuQyfPV
Does . . . does Tony still think he’s fighting this weekend?
Conor wrote a short story.
View this post on Instagram
Lately atop my striking, I’ve been striking them where they believe they can’t be struck also. And with shots they don’t understand to be shots. Look at the range of limbs and bone joints I strike with here alone. The hip. The bone of the clavicle, the infamous collar bone! The knee. The foot. The fist (both) A lovely array. That will be all kids now take down your notes and your homework tonight is... enter a cold bath. As cold as it possibly is, you do not need ice. Get in the water and then dip your head under fully and until you need to come up for air. Repeat this over and over until you can stay under for 2 minutes fully. Then Get out. Look at yourself in the mirror, And give your self two full clatters into the teeth. You silly novices, back to bed. Just kidding. Respect to all the students of the game. Always remember that if it moves, you are focused on the wrong thing. Stay ready, and most importantly, stay in school. @mcgregorfast
Paulo Costa hoping into the Jones-Izzy beef.
Fight is on! We don’t care where and what we have to do to get there. For a good dance all we need is a good partner n I know I have one— Marlon Moraes (@MMARLONMORAES) April 13, 2020
I’m getting bored over here. Lmk when you ready for me to give you a fix with these hands @HenryCejudo— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) April 13, 2020
Fix your hand first. I will take care of him https://t.co/3ZmNWqHAJ9— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) April 13, 2020
I was thinking to just fix it on his face ♂️ https://t.co/2YALKuDea6— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) April 13, 2020
i’ll be honest i’ve been having a terrible past couple days but i’m staying strong in the mind and will overcome— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) April 13, 2020
Can you imagine?
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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They would have been good.
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