UFC President Dana White has promised that he would not lay off a single employee because of the current coronavirus crisis. UFC parent company Endeavor, unfortunately, can’t say the same thing about its workforce.
White came under fire for trying to stick to an April 18 date for UFC 249. He eventually had to cancel that date at the request of broadcast partner ESPN and its parent company Disney. At the same time, he promised that he would get all of his fighters the bouts they are due this year and would not lay off a single employee because of the pandemic.
“One other thing I really want to point out. All of my fighters that are under contract with me, I want them to feel safe. Take time with your families. Enjoy this time. Don’t worry about the financial side of this. You’re going to get the fights on your contract and I’m gonna make things right with the people that were willing to step up and fight (on April 18). I’m gonna take care of as many people as I possibly can and do whatever it takes to make these guys feel comfortable,” White said on ESPN when announcing the April 18 date had been canceled.
“All of my employees, nobody is getting laid off at the UFC. We will be the first sport back. Fight Island is real. The infrastructure is being built right now. That’s really gonna happen and it will be on ESPN. That’s it. That’s where we stand right now.”
That was April 9, but White has been adamant that he is not going to lay off any employees, no matter how long it takes to ride out the restrictions put in place to try and curb the coronavirus crisis.
Florida has already made a few moves to allow more economic freedom in its state with Gov. Ron DeSantis declaring professional sports as essential business, as long as they don’t have an audience. The UFC is now expected to hold a revamped UFC 249 event on May 9 in Jacksonville, Fla., although UFC officials have yet to confirm the location.
If and when that happens, White is hopeful to begin running weekly events in order to make up for several canceled or postponed events in March, April, and early May.
Endeavor, however, recently stated that about one-third of its 7,500 employees are going to be affected by its shift because of the restrictions in place in an attempt to slow the pandemic.
“The long-term prospects for Endeavor remain unchanged, but like other companies, we are taking a variety of actions to mitigate the impact of this pandemic,” a company spokesperson said, as reported by Deadline. “Since late March, we have been rolling out cost-saving measures in phases across our companies and geographies and intend to complete most of this process in late May. Approximately a third of our population will be impacted by reduced pay for reduced work, furlough, or position elimination, with the majority affected by reduced work and furlough.”
There are numerous properties held under the Endeavor umbrella. Aside from the UFC, Endeavor also owns the WME talent agency, Dixon Talent, IMG Worldwide, The Wall Group, Professional Bull Riders, Euroleague Basketball, ELEAGUE, The Miss Universe Pageant, Frieze, and other companies.