Dana White gives insight into UFC's plans following Coronavirus pandemic
- What is UFC planning to do about the upcoming events?
Coronavirus was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Many sports leagues have been forced to suspend their ongoing seasons, with the most notable one being NBA so far. There are still a few sports leagues that have yet to confirm the suspension of their seasons and respective tournaments and the UFC has been under major pressure to give answers about how they plan to deal with upcoming events.
A day after the declaration by WHO, the UFC responded. Dana White, in an address to the media via telephone (H/T MMA Fighting), detailed UFC's approach in dealing with the Coronavirus threat:
”I talked to the president and the vice president about this, and they’re taking this very serious,” White said. “They’re saying, ‘Be cautious, be careful, but live your life and stop panicking.’ Everybody is panicking, and instead of panicking, we’re actually getting out there and working with doctors and health officials and the government to figure out how to keep the sport safe and continue to put on events.”
He said that UFC is working directly with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and that the organization's priority is the health and safety of fans, staff, and athletes.
“We’re working directly with the Nevada State Athletic Commission and executive director Bob Bennett,” he said. “We’re always looking out for the health and safety of our fans, our athletes, whatever it might be. Obviously, this thing is going on, we’re going to do the same thing: We’re going to make sure two healthy athletes are competing.”
It appears that the show will go on and the organization hasn't outright canceled events just yet.
”They want to fight, they want to compete, and we’re going to do everything we can to keep them safe,” White said.
For starters, UFC Brasilia this weekend will see the entire event happening behind closed doors. UFC Columbus has been moved to Las Vegas and will be hosted at the UFC Apex, while UFC London headlined by Leon Edwards and Tyron Woodley will go on with an audience as expected.
The latter is certainly a questionable decision and the United Kingdom government has been harshly criticized for a complacent approach in dealing with the Coronavirus. New York City's government has recently banned a gathering of 500 or more people and the status of UFC 249 is still in jeopardy.