When UFC President Dana White was all-in on moving forward with UFC 249 on April 18, he took a lot of flack from numerous different angles for trying to operate an event during the coronavirus pandemic.
He eventually pulled the plug on the April 18 date at the request of broadcast partner ESPN. He is now moving forward with a revamped UFC 249 fight card on May 9, at which point he intends to continue operations for the remainder of the year. White’s initial schedule includes UFC 249 and two more events within an eight-day span in order to get back on track.
At the time White was first trying to move forward with the April 18 date, one of the organizations that seemed to speak loudly against holding an event amidst all of the tightening COVID-19 restrictions was the Association of Ringside Physicians. At that time, ARP issued a statement saying, “It is our recommendation that all combat sporting events be postponed until further notice. This includes any and all events, regardless of the number of people involved. Any combat sport taking place during this global pandemic places the athletes, officials, and anyone else involved in the event under unnecessary risk of infection and transmission of Covid-19.”
ARP on Saturday issued a revised statement on the matter, offering its help to any combat sports organization that would like help in developing guidelines and safety procedures to operate as the United States begins to restart its economy.
Association of Ringside Physicians May 2, 2020, COVID-19 Statement
The Association of Ringside Physicians recognizes that the circumstances regarding the COVID-19 pandemic are continually changing and evolving. As stay-at-home orders are relaxed, athletic commissions and combat sports governing bodies are looking to restart operations.
Although it is impossible to eliminate all risk associated with COVID-19, precautions can be made to reduce the risk of viral transmission. Many athletic commissions, organizations and promotors are developing new guidelines to limit exposure to all involved at events, including athletes, their teams, commission personnel and support staff.
Combat sports event procedures regarding COVID-19 precautions should be actively developed, regularly reviewed and modified based on the evolving knowledge and scientific evidence put forth by public health authorities. These guidelines should also involve local and regional public health officials as well as infectious disease experts and epidemiologists.
Our thoughts continue to be with those who have been and will be affected by this disease. We remain steadfast in our mission to serve, protect and educate all involved in combat sports. If any combat sports organization would like help in developing its guidelines, the Association of Ringside Physicians can provide assistance and guidance.