With Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) due to open back up its doors in a matter of two weeks to stage UFC 249 on May 9 from Jacksonville, Fla., the promotion must abide by specific COVID-19 health precautions to guarantee the safety of all fighters and staff involved.
Fortunately, UFC already has a procedure in place to properly care for fighters during this unprecedented return to action. The promotion’s measures include temperature checks, social distancing, and advanced medical screenings, but not an actual test for the coronavirus.
UFC released the following statement earlier this week detailing its plans to create a safe and healthy environment for UFC 249 and beyond:
“Health and safety have long been a priority for UFC and we have set the standards for our industry. In light of the current circumstances, we plan to implement further enhanced safety measures as we return to producing live events.
UFC events scheduled for May 9, May 13, and May 16 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida will be fully sanctioned by the Florida State Boxing Commission and will comply with all of the regulations governing professional MMA events. We have worked closely with our medical staff and state and local officials, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, and Florida State Boxing Commission Executive Director Patrick Cunningham, to ensure the appropriate health and safety protocols are in place.
Pursuant to a request from the Florida State Boxing Commission, these events will be closed to the public and will be produced with only essential personnel in attendance. All athletes and staff will be required to adhere to a number of precautionary measures, such as participating in advanced medical screenings and temperature checks and following social distancing guidelines.
On behalf of the fans, athletes, and employees, UFC thanks Governor Ron DeSantis, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, Florida State Boxing Commission Executive Director Patrick Cunningham, and our media partners, including ESPN and ESPN+, for their support as we resume our events.”
While many fight fans are excited about the idea of UFC returning some sort of normalcy to the sports world, the promotion continues to walk a fine line during the ongoing COVID-19 spread. UFC president Dana White has already received considerable backlash for attempting to stage events when every other major sports organization is shut down. If something were to happen during any of UFC’s upcoming events it would likely scar the organization for quite some time.
That said, UFC seems to have all of its ducks in a row leading into its awaited return on May 9. The promotion simply has to maintain its health and safety protocols and adopt any new procedures that provide more peace of mind for the athletes competing.
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