UFC 249 is dead. Long live UFC 249!
That’s the current situation as the original lineup for the original April 18th date has been rearranged and combined with other shuttered cards to become the new and in some ways improved UFC 249 now set to happen on May 9th from Jacksonville, Florida. UFC president Dana White has also confirmed they’ll be running shows at quite the clip after that, with three additional shows already scheduled for May 13th, May 16th, and May 23rd.
With ‘Fight Island’ set to kick off in June, things look like they’ll be firing on all cylinders soon. That’s something Dana White isn’t going to apologize for, unsurprisingly. He explained his reasoning in a recent interview with Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole.
“We’ve shut down the world, and we’ve controlled it [the Coronavirus] the best we can,” White said. “I just don’t know how long we can keep the world shut down. There’s a lot of things that will start to snowball as you continue to keep people locked up inside their houses with nothing to do and no entertainment and a lot of people who aren’t making money. They’re going to start running out of money to buy food and things like this.”
“I know all the hippies want to look at this thing and go ‘Oh, we gotta care about this that and everything else.’ You know, people being out and productive and making money is a big deal too. For your mind, for everything. And I have to start coming up with ways to work around this and figure out how to get people back to as close to normal as possible.”
White also reiterated that no one in the UFC was losing their job as a result of the pandemic.
“No layoffs at UFC,” he confirmed. “None of my people will be laid off. Not happening.”
As for the implied but not implicit promise to ‘make things right’ with fighters who had already gone through fight camps for cancelled cards?
“We’re working on that,” White said. “People who missed their fight, we’re working out a whole deal for those guys. We’re working on all this stuff.”
“We’re not doing stimulus checks, we’ll be back up and running is what we’re going to do,” White said after a rant about the media assuming he wouldn’t take care of his fighters. “And a lot of people are losing their jobs and can’t pay their bills and can’t do things like that. When you’re with the UFC, we’re moving forward. You’re going to continue to work, you’re going to continue to make money, you’re going to continue to feed your family whether you work here at the offices or you fight for the UFC.”
“A lot of the media were going crazy about me trying to pull of that fight last weekend. A lot of the media are gonna start getting laid off pretty soon. This is just the beginning. And we haven’t even had talks about going back to normal yet. But when we go back to ‘normal’ it’s going to be a very long time before things are normal again.”