Miesha Tate On ONE And UFC’s Differing Response To The Coronavirus

As soon as the coronavirus pandemic emerged on the global scene, ONE Championship was quick to take precautions. Before the world went into lockdown, the promotion decided to hold their ONE: King Of The Jungle card in February, behind closed doors. ONE then announced that they would hold four more events behind closed doors in Singapore, during April and May. However, as the pandemic has worsened, it was decided to postpone the two April shows. Vice-president of ONE Miesha Tate, believes it was the right thing to do.

In an interview with The South China Morning Post, Tate discussed the difficulties of going ahead with sporting events during the coronavirus pandemic and elaborated on the leadership styles of ONE and the UFC. 

“It’s a difficult call to make because we obviously want to deliver live sports because no one else is able to do that right now. We would love to be able to present the great sport of martial arts for people to watch, but we’re only going to do that if it’s safe.

“We’ve been ahead of the curve in every aspect when it comes to safety and we’re definitely not looking to challenge the authorities and what they’re trying to do to mitigate this process,” Tate added. “It was the right decision to make, and we’re looking to throw live events again as soon as a safe opportunity presents itself.”

The former UFC bantamweight champion believes in the leadership of ONE Championship president Chatri Sityodtong, who postponed the upcoming events himself. 

“Chatri is a battle-tested leader,” Tate said of the One boss. “He’s very wise. He’s seasoned. He’s experienced.

“I think a lot of companies are not going to be able to make it through this crisis,” she added. “They’re going to have to shut down, so having somebody like Chatri who is a strong and smart leader is absolutely essential.”

In the last few days, UFC president Dana White has had to admit defeat, after being forced to postpone UFC 249 and all upcoming events. Despite doing everything he possibly could to push ahead with the shows. While Tate admires his determination, she doesn’t believe events shouldn’t go ahead under the current circumstances.

“Dana is a totally different animal and he is a bit hard-headed in his approach,” she said. “I think, for the UFC, he’s been a great leader for the most part. He has been exactly what they needed. I mean, where would the UFC be without Dana White?

“You can’t expect Dana to be the kind of man that he is and do everything he’s done to make the UFC a success and then all of the sudden change when something like this happens. Dana is who he is, and I give him props because he’s done some amazing things, but I appreciate that we err on the side of caution because I don’t want people to get sick. I don’t want people to die.

“Dana has a different approach, but Dana’s not going to do anything illegal,” she added. “If he can find a way to throw an event within the guidelines, I’m not going to knock the guy for being ambitious. But I hope he does take into consideration that the rules need to be followed. It needs to be safe. I think he’s willing to do that.”

Although UFC 249 may have been postponed, Dana plans to start running events again in around a month, after stating that he has secured a Fight Island, to hold international fight cards. Although ONE still has two closed door events booked for May 1st and May 8th in Singapore, it’s not known if they will go ahead as planned.

Miesha Tate is confident however that whether the two shows go ahead or not, ONE will be back up and running fully when the time is right.

“ONE Championship is always extremely creative and I have no doubt that our team will find a way to make up for lost time,” she said. “[We’ve discussed] putting a few more fights on [future] cards and brainstormed about how we can get our fighters more active. Everybody wants to fight more often; this isn’t something that’s new because of the coronavirus. We’re always trying to think of ways we can expand. So I think we’ll be putting our minds together and thinking of the future, because this is not going to last forever.

“We’re already devising plans for making up for this lost time, and I think the world will be pleasantly surprised with everything that we’re able to come up with in this slow period. Once it’s over, once we’ve kicked this virus’ butt, we’re going to be pedal to the metal.”

What exciting matchups do you want to see in ONE Championship once the coronavirus pandemic is over?

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