Dana White Says Only a Gov’t “Shutdown” Will Cancel UFC Cards, as Promotion Scrambles to Find New Venues
Dana White continues to insist that the UFC will hold its scheduled events, somewhere, unless the government encts a complete shutdown due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Even though public gatherings are being temporarily banned in more locations, and additional travel restrictions are being announced due to the coronavirus, UFC President Dana White says the promotion will continue to hold events.
White says only a government shutdown will cancel UFC cards
Last week, it was announced that the UFC was still going to hold a March 21st card in London, England, and that its March 28th and April 11th cards scheduled for Columbus and Portland respectively, would be held at the company’s Apex facility in Las Vegas. White also relayed that the UFC would continue to hold its events, despite the restrictions being enacted by various jurisdictions because of the coronavirus.
But, since then, U.S. President Donald Trump has temporarily banned travel from the United Kingdom to the States. In addition, the Nevada Commission revoked all combat sports licenses up until March 25th, and at that time, it will review whether events can be held.
As a result, White said the following, while appearing on ESPN’s SportsCenter Saturday (quotes via ESPN).
“Obviously, things are changing by the hour,” White said. “This morning, they announced new travel restrictions for the U.K., so [the March 21 event] can’t continue in London. But the fight will go on. We’re working on finding a new venue, likely in the United States, and I have my matchmakers literally working right now to put together the undercard.
“As of now, fights can’t happen at the Apex here in Las Vegas. So, we’re working to find new locations, but the fights will go on; they will continue. We’re not stopping.”
White also said that the UFC is working on finding a new venue for the April 18th, UFC 249 card, which is supposed to see Khabib Nurmagmedov and Tony Ferguson fight. White insisted that fight will happen, and he also made the following claim:
“Unless there’s a total shutdown of the country, where people can’t leave their houses and things like that, these fights will happen,” White said. “We’re gonna move on. These fights will happen. These guys will compete. We will find venues, and we will figure this thing out. I mean, the only thing that’s gonna stop us is a complete government shutdown, where everybody is confined to their homes.”
But is this possible?
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When you consider all the logistical hurdles the UFC will need to clear, in order to keep its upcoming schedule up-and-running, it’s hard to imagine this going through. Especially if public pressure mounts for the UFC to not proceed, on account of concerns for fighters, officials, etc. getting sick. There’s also the issue of fighters not getting paid for training camps they’ve already begun.
To date, multiple sports leagues have suspended operations and some MMA promotions have also cancelled upcoming events.