UFC President Dana White: People Need To Be Entertained
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, the sporting world has come to a sudden halt. But whilst some governing bodies were quick to suspend their season and fixtures, there have been a few sports that have done their best to continue with the show. One of those is MMA. And although the UFC has now cancelled their next three events, UFC Brasilia went ahead last week behind closed doors. With the UFC trying to push on with their events, UFC president Dana White has come under criticism from many MMA outlets.
Despite the criticism, Dana has defended his actions, stating that health and safety has always been a top priority for the UFC and that even at times like this, people need to be entertained.
Speaking to the UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman on an Instagram Live Chat, Dana stated that the UFC will be back up and running before any other sport, and in doing so will ensure that all the fighters on his roster will still be able to fight and earn money.
“Here’s the reality, we will be up and running before any other sport will. Our sport’s different. We have our own arena next door [at the UFC Apex]. So we will fulfil every fight for every fighter this year, and we’ll get this thing done.”
And it’s not just his fighters that Dana is proud to be looking after, the UFC boss was quick to point out that all of his employees will also be looked after. Whilst simultaneously knocking most MMA journalists.
“Go online and look at some of these people. And this isn’t a knock, this is just a fact. The weakest, wimpiest people on Earth cover the biggest, baddest sport on Earth. What do you expect them to say? What do you think they’re going to say?
“I have over 350 employees who work for me. Multi-billion dollar companies are laying off all their employees right now. We haven’t laid off one person at the UFC. Every fighter that fights for me, will fight three times this year. Our schedule will go on. Everybody’s going to get paid. We will figure this out and we will be the first sport back on and f*** that s***. Everything will go on.”
Hitting out at the MMA media again, Dana said that he and the UFC have always looked after their fighters.
“Listen, the media can talk as much s*** as they want. They don’t feed families. They don’t take care of f***ing people. They don’t have people that count on them. They don’t have people to support.
“We’re doing the right thing as far as medical testing goes and everything. That’s all we f***ing do. That’s nothing new. We were doing that s*** way before the coronavirus. We were taking care of people and making sure that everybody is healthy. Every fight that’s with me on the road is getting much better medical attention than they are at home if they’re with me.”
While many businesses are being forced to lay off staff, Dana says he has sent his employees on a ‘big vacation until this thing blows over’.
“I told our whole roster, if you or your loved ones have any type of situations or anything wrong, call me. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure you get taken care of.
“We will get through this. We will make it. All my people that are with me, no need to worry. Enjoy your family, spend your time. This is a big vacation until this thing blows over and we will be back on track and we will kick some f***ing ass, like we always do.”
Yesterday, Dana also spoke to CNN Sports, where he echoed his comments to Usman.
“People need to be entertained, to feel some sort of normalness going on. And you know me, if I can still figure out ways to run the UFC and do it safely, and not put any of my people in harm then we were going to do it.
“I could care less [about others’ opinions]. Let me tell you what, my employees, when all of this stuff started really going down, we had a huge meeting with all of our staff. I haven’t laid off one employee.”
With so much criticism headed his way recently, Dana accused anyone of saying he isn’t concerned with the health and safety of his fighters and staff, of not knowing him very well.
“Listen, we need to fight this thing. Let’s work through this thing – that’s what we do every week at the UFC. For anybody that says I’m not concerned with health and safety and all this other stuff, then you don’t know me. And I always take care of my people, whether it’s my fighters or my employees … health and safety is something that I worry about every single week. Not [just] since the coronavirus popped up. I mean, it’s what we do.
“You can accuse me of whatever you want…you know what I did? I told all my people, if any of them or their family members get sick, or have any problems, you call me, and I will get you taken care of. People who don’t know me can accuse me of whatever they want. When I asked everybody if you don’t feel safe, or if you’re in the high risk group and you guys want to go home and work from home, none of my employees walked out.
“I always take care of my people, whether it’s my fighters or my employees. Health and safety is something that I worry about every single week, not just since the coronavirus popped up. I mean, it’s what we do. For anybody that says that I’m not concerned with health and safety and all this other stuff, then you don’t know me.”
Whilst the coronavirus has stopped the world in its tracks, Dana insists that problem solving is what he does. Although he does admit that this is the ‘craziest’ problem he’s had to solve.
“This is nothing new for us, we’ve been through some stuff, but this is by far the craziest I’ve ever seen. [I’m] on the phone all day every day trying to figure out how to get this thing off … yes, that fight is on and I’m going to figure it out.
“Yeah, we’re going to do it. I’m going to get this thing done. Ten days ago, I could have answered a lot of questions for you and I knew a lot of things. I don’t know anything anymore. The world is such a different, crazy place. Las Vegas is shut down, casinos are closed. I never thought I would say that in my lifetime. So I really don’t know anything anymore. I’m just out there trying to solve problems, is what I’m trying to do. I’m a problem solver. That’s what I do and that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”
Dana’s comments yesterday come after he challenged MMA fans and media to keep doubting him.
Is Dana White right to continue to push ahead with the upcoming UFC events, despite the coronavirus pandemic?