Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, has no intention of making anyone on his roster or staff get a COVID-19 vaccine ... even if that means changing plans for UFC 268.
The promotion has its eyes on Madison Square Garden in New York City for a pay-per-view (PPV) on Sat., Nov 6, 2021. The expected lineup includes Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2 for UFC’s Welterweight title, Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler and Sean Strickland vs. Luke Rockhold. News of new COVID-19 restrictions for unvaccinated people could complicate those plans (details here); however, White will not force anyone to get vaccinated.
“I would never tell another human being what to do with their body,” White said when speaking with TSN (h/t MMA Fighting). “If you want to get vaccinated, that’s up to you. That’s your choice. You’re never going to hear me say I’m going to force people to get vaccinated. Never gonna happen.”
On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced plans for an executive order requiring proof of vaccination for indoor activities, including gyms and restaurants. Chandler has already said he would not be vaccinated in time for UFC 268.
“I think a lot of people are doing that, they’re telling you in New York [City] you can’t go into a restaurant or a gym unless you’re vaccinated and can prove it and things like that,” White said. “Some people are getting fired if they don’t get vaccinated.
“That’s not going to happen here [in the UFC]. If you want to get vaccinated... get vaccinated. If you don’t, that’s your decision, your body.”
While White still has hope for a major fight card in New York City, the UFC boss is prepared to hold UFC 268 elsewhere.
“I don’t know. We’ll see,” White said. “As this stuff starts to play out, I told you guys a million times, I’m going to go where I can run a normal event. I said that I would be first and I would do the first indoor sold-out arena with no social distancing and no masks and none of that stuff. We did it. We did it in Florida. We did it in Texas. We did it in Arizona. We did it in Vegas. We’re going to sell out again this weekend in Texas.
“I don’t know what the future holds or what’s going to happen as this stuff continues to play,” White concluded. “I wasn’t ready 1.5 years ago. I’m ready for anything now. I don’t care what happens, how it goes, how these different states run their stuff, I don’t care anymore. I’m ready to roll. I have plans now.”
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