Dana White explains coronavirus cautions UFC are taking for UFC 249
UFC president Dana White insists the promotion will be taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of the fighters competing at UFC 249. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, which has wreaked havoc with the sporting calendar, mixed martial art’s premier promotion are still pressing heading with their fourth pay-per-view card of the year.
UFC 249, which prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was slated to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday week, will take place on private island recently acquired by White.
The location of the aforementioned island has not yet been revealed, with White reluctant to divulge the fine details of the drastically reshuffled event.
Concerns over the safety of the fighters competing on the card and the staff members facilitating it have been raised by many, with the general consensus being the UFC are taking a major risk hosting the event.
White is well aware of those concerns and insists his medical team will be going ‘above and beyond’ to ensure everyone involved with the card is kept safe.
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Health and safety is a thing we worry about all the time
UFC president Dana White
“Health and safety is a thing we worry about all the time,” he told ESPN. “Not just during the coronavirus.
“Obviously, this has made our job a little tough. But we’re going to do everything above and beyond to make sure everybody that’s associated with this event is safe. Just like we always do. A lot of things.”
He added: “We’re going to go above and beyond and do everything that we can to make sure everybody is safe during the event.”
UFC 249 was initially meant to be headlined by the long-awaited lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
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However, Nurmagomedov and Ferguson’s eagerly-anticipated clash – which has been nearly five years in the making – fell through last week when Russian government introduced a blanket travel ban that left the former trapped in his homeland .
The UFC have drafted in fan-favourite Justin Gaethje to replace Nurmagomedov, who has received a barrage of criticism from disgruntled fans for his withdrawal from the card.
White was has since leapt to the defence of the Russian, saying: “He got caught up in Russia.
“It was a total mishap. We all made mistakes in that one.
“Nobody is to blame for that one, it is what it is.
“The fact that we can even pull off and event right now; this is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
He added: “I could go on for ten minutes telling you how that whole thing fell apart. The reality is that’s nobody’s fault.
“Every day that I got up, the rules changed. Every day. Things were shutting down, things were closing down.”
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