The past two months, the UFC has been in a tailspin due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus. Despite their best efforts, the world’s premier fight organization has been forced to postpone a number of events. But on Friday, UFC President Dana White announced an ambitious plan to get the UFC back into action next month, including holding three events in one week.
White’s announcement once again raised eyebrows from those wondering if a global pandemic is the time to be machine-gunning fight cards, but speaking to Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, White maintains that we can’t just sit around forever and wait for this pandemic to pass.
“At some point, we have to figure out, ‘How do we get things back to normal,’ but do it in a really safe way,” White said. “The only way to find out is to get out there and start doing it. We’re going to spend a lot of money. It’s not going to be cheap. It’s going to be expensive. You’re worried about the health and safety of everybody: the fighters, the commission, the referees, my staff that’s going to be there. It’s not cheap. It’s expensive. It’s hard, but somebody’s got to take the first step and get out there. We can’t just stay in houses until next December.”
White has been extremely bullish on continue to host events during the coronavirus pandemic. He spent weeks attempting to keep UFC 249 on the books for April 18, even going so far as to establish ‘Fight Island’ before ultimately being forced to back down when Disney executives reached out to him. Obviously that only delayed White though, who is adamant that health and safety goes hand-in-hand with the UFC and that they have a good bead on things heading into the rescheduled UFC 249 event.
“I care very much about the fighters,” White said. “I care very much about my staff; obviously, my family. We’re going to do everything way up here. we always do. Health and safety is an issue for us for the last 20 years. . . It’s not new for us. This is something we deal with not only on a weekly basis but we take great pride in that we have such a great track record.”
White’s tenure over the UFC does reveal a track record of health and safety measures. When Zuffa acquired the UFC in 2001, White spearheaded the company’s movement toward regulation by state athletic commissions and in 2015, White brought USADA on board with the UFC for a comprehensive anti-doping program. However, the texture of a global pandemic is very different in terms of health and safety, especially as it becomes more clear that the coronavirus pandemic is not going away soon. And that’s why White says he’s not planing on having fans at shows anytime soon either.
“Obviously, the world is going to be different and I’ve been thinking far ahead into the future,” White said. “I don’t expect to have a gate for a very long time. I’ve already thrown that out the window. You have to look at all the different things. People think that I don’t take this seriously because I want to come back so fast and all this other stuff.
“It’s not that I don’t take it seriously. I take it very seriously. I don’t plan on having a gate for a very long time. . . I’m already thinking way ahead of these types of things. All I need to worry about is making sure everybody is safe and that I can put on these events. I don’t need a crowd.”
The point against White remains, though. How is the UFC going to effectively control the spread of coronavirus when every other major sports league has admitted they cannot? If all the medical experts in the world are struggling to fight COVID-19, how can Dana White claim he’ll do so? And for that, White had a simple response.
“I think the medical experts have controlled it, as best as you can control it,” White said. “We literally shut down the world. It’s crazy that that’s even an option. We shut down the world and we controlled it as best we can. I just don’t know how long we can keep the world shut down. There’s a lot of things that will start to snowball as you continue to keep people locked up inside their houses with nothing to do and no entertainment and a lot of people who aren’t making money are going to running out of money to buy food and things like this. People being out and being productive and people making money is a big deal too. We have to start coming up with ways to work around this and figure out how to get people back to as close to normal as possible.”
Lost time. UFC plans to hold three events in a week, starting with UFC 249 on May 9.
Fight Island. Dana White aiming to have ‘Fight Island’ ready by June.
Reaction to the UFC’s ambitious May plans.
Portrait: Edmen Shahbazyan.
How good was Frank Mir?
Fighters who were beaten at their own game.
Dana on TMZ.
Severe MMA. Discussing UFC 249, safety during COVID-19, and Conor’s next step.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
The beef continues.
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Wanna train with the best striking coach in the game. Take a look at what @platinumperry had to say to the press after our first camp@together giving him his biggest win inside his @ufc career against the hard hitting Irish dragon @felderpaul. Haters gonna hate, Jonny bones wink & Greg gonna always stay fake! Look at these fighters performances when working with me and since they haven’t. Jon got chased down by rowing athlete & lost on my card. Mike took 3 left headlocks which I warned him about every time we trained. BOOM... so I ask you, have they gotten better or worse.. ♂️ I’m not here to sugar coat the facts, The corruption of the game. Greg is broke and sold his name and all rights to the team to mike winklejohn. Mike winklejohn is a sad, sad, coward of a man who hates the world bc his eye was taken from him in a kickboxing accident by a nobody. That’s bc his skills as a pad@holder suck balls. Worst pad holder and fight strategist ive@ever dealt with, well other than Izzy style wresting who doesn’t know shit about anything other than stupid 21 year old girls he lures in with the promise of a world@champions@dick in Jon and a whole lotta cocaine. But don’t forget pussy when I punked you in front of everybody your bitch ass and you tried to have me thrown off the team. Izzy martinez u r a pussy lil bitch. I’ll beat that Motherfucking ass anytime your ready to stand up for yourself like a man and not run behind Jon Jones when I’m bout to knock your fucking block off! Greg is a sell out. Wink is a fraud. Izzy is a teenage loving blow addict and this is the supposed NEST TEAM IN THE WORLD!!! Haha haha bitch made JacksonWink MMA!
Darren Till throwing heat.
People who turn comments off on Instagram are just weak bitches.— Darren Till (@darrentill2) April 26, 2020
Let’s argue u sensitive bitch.
Masvidal and woodley beat me. I’ve roasted me self before the comments start ha
Now let’s argue bitches.
Your all bitches, apart from Margot Robbie. I’d sniff her farts day in day out
And another thing...— Darren Till (@darrentill2) April 26, 2020
Fuck this Fight island bullsheeeitttt.
Perry the fat fuck wants to fight me.
I want to smack rob?’s face off
Israel adelasagne wants to fight jones.
It’s all mad weights that don’t make sense. Fuck making weight let’s just fight. I couldn’t make it anyways
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@amanda_leoa I hope you have been doing well! Ready to pick a new date with me in June? :) ... ... ... #UFCtbd #andNEW #briercreekclothingco #ufc #invictafc #mma #bjj #junglemmaorlando #wmma #tkd #kickboxing #featherweight #orlandoathletes #othersideappareal #combatcorner #floridagirls #feenom #reebok #impactmouthguards
I will never fight anyone who taps to strikes.— Dan Hangman Hooker (@danthehangman) April 27, 2020
Take your ass whoopin like a man.— Dan Hangman Hooker (@danthehangman) April 27, 2020
I think Fight Island should adopt the Pride FC rules. Who wants to see soccer kicks and heads stomps?— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) April 26, 2020
Hey guys fight island was done 13 years ago ... if you missed it .. here it is Fighters trained on the island 2 weeks prior to the fight, Amazing Event https://t.co/2SaZacBGl1— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) April 24, 2020
Francis forgetting about Derrick Lewis fight. Wish the rest of us could.
Finish rate is 100% homie, in case you don't know how to count https://t.co/njldkCElKn— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) April 24, 2020
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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