Dana White Talks UFC 249 Safety, TUF, The APEX Center & Fight Island
Dana White has revealed his plans for the UFC APEX, fighter safety at UFC 249 and a new season of The Ultimate Fighter.
UFC 249 takes place this weekend at the VyStar Veteran’s Memorial Centre in Florida. With the event taking place under the limits of the current lockdown, Dana was asked what precautions he’d taken to ensure fighter safety during his interview with Sports Illustrated.
“I don’t wanna die. I don’t have a f***ing death wish. I’m not out there trying to kill myself. And I don’t want to kill any of my employees or their families. It’s not like we’re running around with no plan. The thing is: Let’s find solutions. How do we get back as close to normal as we could possibly get? A 15,000- or 20,000-seat arena with no fans isn’t normal. A lot of things aren’t normal going into this event. But we’re trying to figure out how to make it as safe as possible.
“Let me put it this way: We’re gonna go so overboard making sure everybody is healthy and safe that I just don’t see how we can possibly f*** this up.
“My fighters and my employees have been told: If you’re not comfortable coming back to work, you don’t have to. It’s not like we’re in some dire financial situation, like that’s why I’m pushing this.”
Whilst doing the rounds ahead of UFC 249, Dana also spoke to ESPN 690, where he confirmed plans for a new season of The Ultimate Fighter.
“We’re literally working on that right now. What a great question and the answer is yes and we’re working on that right now.”
And as Dana points out, there are some potential great coaching rivals for the next season of TUF.
“I mean, if you look at the landscape, you could do [Kamaru] Usman vs. [Colby] Covington, you could do Usman vs. [Jorge] Masvidal as coaches, you could do Khabib [Nurmagomedov] vs. Tony [Ferguson] or whoever wins this weekend. You could do Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa. You could have some incredible coaches right now,”
TUF will obviously take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. And speaking to Barstool Sports (as transcribed by MMA Junkie) Dana stated that he’s hoping to be holding events at his APEX Center as soon as the UFC’s May 23rd card.
“I’m shooting for the 23rd. So we’ll do four fights in two weeks. Contender Series will happen too.
And then within a month, the UFC boss is hoping to be up and running on his Fight Island.
“Mid-June, if we could get all the infrastructure done by mid-June, I would love to do a fight that weekend that the place is completed. If not, we’ll look at the end of June.
“We were supposed to do a fight in Brazil, we got a fight that we were supposed to do in Kazakhstan, we got a fight that we were supposed to do in Perth, Australia, so all these fights would now move to ‘Fight Island.’”