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Dana White’s brave decision to push through COVID saved UFC fighters $200 million

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When most of the world closed up shop, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic that shut down the globe’s top sporting leagues, UFC President Dana White found a way to soldier on, staging closed-door events at UFC APEX in Las Vegas and “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.

As a result, almost $200 million went out the door to UFC fighters.

“Nobody got laid off, no salaries were cut, and then when you look at the fighters, every fighter contract was honored,” White told BT Sport. “Quitting is never the solution. I was blown away by how many people were willing to just quit. Fascinating to me.”

They probably didn’t have $750 million at stake.

White and Co. were first out of the gate and other leagues like MLB and NFL were soon to follow, but even the most stringent safety measures could not prevent coronavirus from upending several fight cards, including this weekend’s ESPN+ event in Las Vegas.

The show must go on.

“If I decide forget it, we’re not gonna go, we’re just gonna sit this thing out like all these other businesses did, you’re talking, I’d have had to lay off probably 50-percent or more of my staff,” White continued. “You’d have cut all the executive salaries in half... or more. You’re talking almost $200 million that wouldn’t have been paid to fighters, and the list goes on and on.”

Just keep an eye on that bubble.