Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president, Dana White, was forced to pull the plug on UFC 249 — which was set to go down on April 18, 2020 — after Disney and ESPN expressed concerns over staging a combat event during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the outspoken head honcho isn’t going to sit on the sidelines for too long, as he already has the wheels in motion to stage a stacked event on May 9, 2020 — at a location to be revealed later — after having his momentum halted.
“I was supposed to go this Saturday at Tachi Palace in northern California. I got it done. We could go,” White said during a recent chat on on Kevin Harvick’s show on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio (via MMA Fighting). “I was asked to not do the event from my partners [at ESPN], who I respect, so I did it. I gave them the weekend off and I’m actually at the office right now. We’re back in here. We’re working. I have a date now for May 9.”
Let’s not forget, Governor Newsom of California also had a big say in the cancelation of the event, which was supposed to feature an interim Lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.
As for his comeback effort, White admits it won’t be easy — or cheap — but is determined to spend the necessary coin to get the ball rolling again.
“Listen, I’m not stopping. I have this thing figured out. The reality is can it be done? Yes, it can be done. It’s just very expensive. It’s very expensive and I’m willing to spend the money to do it.”
Paying the salaries of all these current and former champions will definitely be pricey.
While all sports are currently on pause, White has been very vocal about wanting to be the first sports organization to return. Furthermore, he wants to give all his fighters and employees the chance to make money.
“I don’t sit around and wait for somebody to tell me it’s time to do this, it’s time to do that,” White said. “You’ve got to look ahead at what’s happening out there. My commitment is to my employees and to my fighters. I don’t want lay anybody off and I don’t want fighters sitting around for a year not being able to make money but I want everybody to be safe.
“Instead of hiding from this thing, how do you get out there and figure out how to function yet be safe about it,” he added. “My biggest problem with this whole thing is misinformation. You read one thing here, you read something different over here. Nobody really knows what’s going on. It’s been a very strange thing to deal with.”
Still, with a little more than three weeks out from his target date, most fighters are on edge worrying if they’ll be preparing for another event which could potentially be canceled last minute.