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Dana White says UFC will not require fighters to get vaccinated for COVID-19: ‘Never gonna happen’

Dana White Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC will not be implementing any rules for fighters that require them to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in order to compete in the promotion.

That’s according to UFC president Dana White, who addressed the situation ahead of UFC 265, which actually lost the co-main event after two-division champion Amanda Nunes dropped off the card after she tested positive for COVID-19.

“I would never tell another human being what to do with their body,” White said when speaking with TSN. “If you want to get vaccinated, that’s up to you. That’s your choice. You’re never going to hear me say I’m going to force people to get vaccinated. Never gonna happen.”

With COVID-19 cases spiking all over the United States largely thanks to the new Delta variant of the deadly disease, many companies are starting to implement rules for employees that require proof of vaccination in order to work.

Netflix was recently the first major Hollywood studio to require vaccinations for anyone and everyone working on a production.

Meanwhile, the NFL isn’t requiring players to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in order to play in the upcoming season but the league set up a stringent set of rules that could severely penalize teams for cancellations — including forfeits and loss of pay — that involve a coronavirus outbreak.

On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced plans for an executive order requiring proof of vaccination for a number of indoor activities including gyms and restaurants.

“I think a lot of people are doing that, they’re telling you in New York [City] you can’t go into a restaurant or a gym unless you’re vaccinated and can prove it and things like that,” White said. “Some people are getting fired if they don’t get vaccinated.

“That’s not going to happen here [in the UFC]. If you want to get vaccinated … get vaccinated. If you don’t, that’s your decision, your body.”

The new rules set up in New York City with full enforcement going into action on Sept. 13 could dramatically alter the UFC’s plans for a return to Madison Square Garden in November.

While a deal isn’t done yet, UFC 268 is currently targeted to take place in famed arena on Nov. 6 in New York but White admits that De Blasio’s order could force the promotion to make alternate plans.

“I don’t know. We’ll see,” White said. “As this stuff starts to play out, I told you guys a million times, I’m going to go where I can run a normal event. I said that I would be first and I would do the first indoor sold out arena with no social distancing and no masks and none of that stuff. We did it. We did it in Florida. We did it in Texas. We did it in Arizona. We did it in Vegas. We’re going to sell out again this weekend in Texas.

“I don’t know what the future holds or what’s going to happen as this stuff continues to play. I wasn’t ready a year and a half ago. I’m ready for anything now. I don’t care what happens, how it goes, how these different states run their stuff, I don’t care anymore. I’m ready to roll. I have plans now.”

As disappointing as it might be to miss out on a return to New York, White says that he’s rolling with the punches when it comes to the current state of affairs with the pandemic.

The UFC has already moved a planned card in September from London back to Las Vegas due to COVID-19 restrictions and the same thing could happen to future shows as well.

“If we can pull it off [in New York],” White said. “We were supposed to go to England and that didn’t work out. We’re moving that to Vegas and the plan is New York but if New York doesn’t work out, I’ll move it somewhere that it will.”

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