— Update —
After the conclusion of today’s COVID-19 conference call between President Trump and major sports commissioners, the White House released the following statement (via Rick Westhead):
In addition, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Trump had the following message for the major sports organizations:
Donald Trump also told commissioners that he hopes to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September, sources said, though it is currently unclear if medical experts find that to be a realistic timeline amid the current coronavirus pandemic. https://t.co/EFqDryGlTQ— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 4, 2020
“Donald Trump also told commissioners that he hopes to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September, sources said, though it is currently unclear if medical experts find that to be a realistic timeline amid the current coronavirus pandemic,” wrote Schefter via Twitter.
This would include UFC and any major events the promotion plans on hosting come August/September. Unfortunately, this timeline doesn’t quite bode well for UFC’s upcoming International Fight Week in Las Vegas this July.
— End of update —
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White already has his hands full trying to stage the cursed UFC 249 event later this month, but he now has to set some extra time aside to join all other major sports commissioners on an impromptu COVID-19 conference call with President Donald Trump.
This is according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who confirms the conference call is set to begin today (Sat., April 4, 2020) at 12:00 p.m. ET. The call was announced just hours before the expected start time.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to participate in a phone call with all major-league sports commissioners today at noon, according to the @WhiteHouse.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 4, 2020
Scheduled participants on call with Trump:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 4, 2020
NBA – Adam Silver
WNBA – Cathy Engelbert
MLB – Rob Manfred
NFL – Roger Goodell
NHL – Gary Bettman
PGA Tour – Jay Monahan
UFC – Dana White
WWE - Vince McMahon
NASCAR – John Middlebrook or Jim France.
MLS – Don Garber.
Notice: No NCAA. https://t.co/ZqKhN6sdGO
We are unsure at this time the details of the impending call but it will focus on the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Joining White on the conference call will be NBA commissioner Adam Silver, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, CEO of WWE Vince McMahon, NASCAR commissioner John Middlebrook or founder Jim France, and MLS commissioner Don Garber.
Unlike most of the other sports organizations closing up shop for the time being, UFC is desperately trying to keep its doors open. White has struggled to find a suitable location for UFC 249 and work out the details for the main event — seeing as Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently stranded in Russia — but maybe he’ll get some clarity later today on the COVID-19 conference call. With everything going on and the coronavirus spread at an all-time high there’s a chance Trump will prevent any future events from taking place.
That said, White has already discussed this with Trump last month and seemed to have the support of the President. We will have to wait and see if this conference call affects UFC 249 in any way, shape, or form.