Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier, keeps himself busy in between mixed martial arts (MMA) fights by calling the pay-per-view (PPV) action alongside play-by-play man Jon Anik.
With the occasional appearance by Joe Rogan.
But their three-man booth was expected to be broken up into individual seats spread around the Octagon for UFC 249 on April 18 at Tachi Palace Resort, as a way to maintain social distancing while keeping everyone safe from the potential spread of coronavirus.
“One of the biggest worries for me was, no one can go with you — like nobody,” Cormier told Ariel Helwani (transcribed by Tom Taylor). “They said ‘DC, you’ve got to come along. You’re going to check into the hotel, they’re going to screen you, and make sure you’re okay. Then you’re going to go into the arena, call the fights, then you’re going to leave.’ I mean, in terms of what they were going to try to do to protect us, it was crazy. [Joe] Rogan, myself, and [Jon] Anik — the Octagon has eight sides — we would each be on a different side of the Octagon [rather than side-by-side] just to make sure we were social distancing away from each other.”
UFC President Dana White, who faced criticism from the “wimpy” combat sports media for bypassing regulation and risking the safety of his talent for another ESPN paycheck, insisted his traveling circus was the safest place in town.
Sounds like Cormier agrees.
“By the time I was done with this conversation [with the UFC], I felt like I was almost safer at the event than I am anywhere else because it’s only people that are okay, we’re all away from each other, you go and get paid, and you’re there for a day,” the former light heavyweight champion said. “I could have drove up Saturday morning, called the fights, drove home Saturday night. It was perfect for me.”
It wasn’t perfect for California Governor Gavin Newsom, who called Disney — parent company of ESPN — to complain about White going rogue during a global pandemic. That put an end to UFC 249 for the foreseeable future.
Or at least until “Fight Island” is up and running.