John McCarthy Details An Issue The UFC May Have With The Coronavirus
The world of sport has been heavily impacted by the outbreak of coronavirus and MMA has been no different. Veteran referee turned Bellator commentator, John McCarthy has given his say on how the sport’s leading promotions have dealt with it.
Last weekend, the UFC and Bellator showed two sides of how sport is reacting to the coronavirus. Bellator cancelled their event whilst UFC Brasilia took place behind closed doors.
“There’s two sides to every story, and I’m not saying I think the UFC is wrong. They made a decision. They’re in a different position than what Bellator is in,” McCarthy told MMA Junkie Radio.
Bellator’s approach received lots of praise on social media, as they cancelled their event and paid all fighters and staff their wages. McCarthy commends president Scott Coker for making that call as decisively as he did.
“That’s a big loss on his datasheet. He’s doing what he believes is the right thing, and you have to commend him for that.”
McCarthy also made it clear that he wasn’t against the way the UFC went ahead with their event, though he did bring some concerns forward.
“The other side that I look at, I look at sports as the relief from the hardships of life. Sports makes those moments you can forget about all the hard times, and you focus on your team, your fighter, whatever it is. You can just put those hardships away for that moment and enjoy.
“At least the UFC allowed people to have that moment again. There’s two sides to every story, and I’m not saying I think the UFC is wrong. They made a decision. They’re in a different position than what Bellator is in. In the end, I hate to say, but this is a very litigious society. Liability is a business.”
The veteran referee turned Bellator commentator then approached the virus from the UFC’s perspective, saying that continuing to run events could cause them legal issues in the future.
“If you’re a plaintiff’s lawyer, you say, ‘OK, let’s take a look at what Bellator did. I can’t attack that.’ That man, being Scott Coker, shut down that show, paid people, he lost money, he showed that his interests lie with the health and safety with his people. And then I can take it the other way, if you did run the show or running shows like the UFC is trying to do, eventually it comes down to, no matter what, you’re gonna take the owner of the UFC, or the president being Dana, and put him on the stand and ask some simple questions.
“Mr White, did you know that the President of the United States declared a national emergency?’ He’s gonna have to say yes. ‘Did you know that the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL all suspended their seasons to keep people from being brought together or their athletes from being in contact with each other … did you know that they halted their seasons?’ And he’s gonna have to say yes. And in the end, they’re just gonna look and say, ‘So making money was more important to you than the health and safety of your people.’ There’s no way you can defeat it if you’re putting on shows,” McCarthy stated.
“In the end, someone, somewhere, I see if something happens, someone gets [the coronavirus], they can go after [the UFC] legally, and there’s no way they can cover themselves.”
After going ahead with UFC Brasilia, the UFC cancelled its three upcoming events earlier this week.
What are your thoughts on Big John McCarthy’s comments?