Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Dana White is still planning on moving ahead with UFC 249.
The event, which was originally scheduled to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, is currently without a location due to the coronavirus pandemic. With worldwide gathering bans instituted by government officials, the amount of options seem limited to host UFC 249.
In a recent interview with Mike Tyson, White admitted that he’s had to overcome a lot of hurdles thrown in his direction. Despite the difficulty, the UFC president says he has multiple locations lined up to host the card, which will be headlined by the highly anticipated lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I’m gonna try and pull off Tony vs. Khabib on April 18 and try to get some normalcy back in this country,” White stated. “Every day that I work on this thing, I get another curve ball thrown at me. Every time we plan something, it falls apart — I have to re-do it, re-do it.
“I have four or five locations right now and we’re getting this deal done. And then we’re going to figure out who we can get in, who we can’t, what we can do and we’re going to build a card around it.”
White has taken, and dished out, a lot of criticism in regards to moving forward with the upcoming fight card, despite plans to have UFC 249 behind closed doors. A lot of questions remain unanswered when it comes to how events will adhere to current CDC guidelines, when and if fighters will be tested for COVID-19, and the course of action being taken to ensure that the athletes involved will have the lowest risks possible of becoming infected.
While still mum on those details, White maintains the mainstream media is blowing things out of proportion.
“Everybody’s running and hiding,” White said. “I’m one of those guys that would rather get out there and find solutions. How do we figure this out? How do we beat this thing?
“Listen, if you’re somebody that’s a high risk, you should probably stay away and stay quarantined for a while. What happens when flu season comes again next year? What happens then?
“I think that the media has made this thing scary,” White continued. “People are buying all of the toilet paper there is. If you just look at a lot of things that are going on, it’s wacky and totally driven by fear. It’s very weird.”
White maintains that the reason the UFC wants to keep the proverbial train moving is not out of greed, or to make money. It’s about getting fighters to fight and attempting to provide a distraction during this tumultuous time in the world.
When the coronavirus pandemic becomes a thing of the past, White believes it will be something we look back upon scratching our heads.
“I think that in a year or two, we’re going to be like, ‘holy s**t, we shut down the whole world for this thing.”
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