The UFC has already had to cancel 3 events this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it looks like Dana White, president of the organization, has figured out how to get ahead of the virus and start hosting fights again.
While this may be exciting news for all the fans of the UFC, White has been hit with a lot of criticism for wanting to push forward with events despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite what health officials have been recommending and the regulations governments have put in place when it comes to limiting gatherings, White has continued to push the UFC's agenda and is determined to figure it out.
Dana has now claimed that events will continue going forward on a private island in an undisclosed location and that the UFC will 'pump out fights' every week following the April 18 UFC 249 event.
Originally UFC 249 was to be headlined by the undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Tony Ferguson. However, Khabib has since said that he will not be leaving quarantine in Russia. So Dana has been forced to give Ferguson a new opponent, Justin Gaethje.
It's speculated that Khabib says he does not wish to leave Russia because he may have trouble entering the U.S. because of the virus. However, Dana seems to think that hosting the event on a private island may make it easier for fighters to participate.
In a statement to TMZ, the head of the Ultimate Fighting Championship stated:
I’ll tell you this, I’m this close to getting a deal done,...So, this place where this fight is going to be on 18 April, I have locked up for two months, so I’m going to continue to pump fights out. I also secured an island. I’ve got an island. The infrastructure is being built right now. We’re going to do all of our international fights on this island.
So, when we do this fight 18 April, international and in the United States, we’re going to start cranking. The UFC will be back up and running, internationally and here in the States.
White did go on to stress how important the health and safety of the fights and staff are, not only during the time of this pandemic but at all times. He stated that they will be taking every precaution possible to ensure the safety of his team and the fighters. He did not, however, specify whether the fighters would be tested for COVID-19 or not however some would consider this a necessary precaution.
We're going to make sure that athletes, referees, my production people, that everybody there is going to be healthy before, during and after the fights,
White also confirmed that there will be no live-audience at any of the coming events and insists that he's looking to provide entertainment to the public who are on lockdown or in quarantine so that they can all get through this difficult time a little bit easier.