Eddie Hearn On Dana White Carrying On With UFC Shows: Don’t Be Mad
The ATP and WTA tours are cancelled. The NBA, cancelled. F1, cancelled. Every football league (soccer, for our friends in the US) around the world, cancelled. The Olympics? You know, the ancient event that only takes place once every four years? Yeah, you guessed it. Also cancelled until 2021. It seems that the coronavirus has brought every major sporting organisation to a screeching halt. The world is waiting patiently, on lockdown, for things to go back to normal and sporting events to start up again. Almost all of the world. Dana White has other ideas. The UFC boss has been frantically piecing together UFC 249.
Speaking to The Express Sport, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn opened up on his thoughts on Dana pushing on with the show at all costs.
“It’s unbelievable. I’d like to think that in boxing, there’s no-one more roll your sleeves up and get on with it than me, but even I wouldn’t consider staging an event right now. I’m not even thinking about options, not even on the radar. This is stubbornness.”
And perhaps ‘stubbornness’ is right. Maybe its the appropriate word (or ‘madness’, depending where you stand on all of this) to describe Dana’s ambitious plan of not only going forward with UFC 249, despite losing its main event, but of his recent claim of securing an island to set up future international cards.
“These are many of the things that make him successful,” the often outspoken Hearn continued. “But at some point you have to sit back and say ‘white flag’. I’m quite surprised ESPN are going ahead with this, obviously they want ratings and money. But with Sky Sports and DAZN, I would not be allowed to stage events right now. It’s bad taste to be quite honest.
“He wants to be a trailblazer,” Hearn said, admitting to being partly being impressed with Dana’s persistence. “People have told him he can’t do it, But I know the feeling of being told something and you do it anyway. Half of me admires him for cracking on but the other half says ‘come on, don’t be mad’.”
Has Dana gone too far? Eddie Hearn certainly thinks so. And maybe he’s right. Maybe he has finally crossed the line. But consider this, my dear reader, Dana rose to prominence in a sport that as early as 1996 was still being called human cockfighting by the likes of Senator McCain. He thrives when the odds are against him. Morally correct or not, he wins by tooth and nail and it seems that the old dog still has fight in him.
Despite Khabib Nurmagomedov ruling himself out of one of the most eagerly anticipated fights in UFC history, UFC 249 is set to go ahead on April 18th in a secret location, thought to be the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, California. Tony Ferguson will now face Justin Gaethje in the main event, with the UFC interim lightweight title on the line.
Do you agree with Eddie Hearn, is Dana White ‘mad’ to continue with the show, in spite of the coronavirus pandemic?