Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Dana White and the UFC were able to promote three events last week in Jacksonville, Florida.
White’s decision to promote events during the pandemic generated plenty of controversy, but he repeatedly emphasized the importance the promotion was putting on safety protocols — though some doubters have pointed out that those protocols weren’t followed to the letter.
While three people tested positive for COVID-19 during the UFC’s big comeback week — UFC 249 undercard fighter Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and two his coaches — White seems to be very happy with the way things went down
“It was a ten and a half,” White said at the culmination of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 8 card (via MMA Mania). “The key to this week was not a lot of people testing positive for COVID-19, or nobody getting sick during the week. It was a home run and I couldn’t be happier.”
White was quick to thank everybody on the ground who made the UFC’s wild week in Jacksonville possible.
“I’m happy to have them behind me, I wanted this week to be over,” White said. “And it was successful in every way it could be successful. I feel great about it. More importantly, nobody’s sick. Nobody’s sick, nobody’s gotten sick, and hopefully that’s the case. There’s no guarantees in life, but hopefully that’s the case when we all go home. It was a great event, it was a great week, and I think we picked the perfect place to do it, too.
“This town was perfect for it. The governor, the mayor, the athletic commission, everybody was great. This arena was incredible, these guys were great to us. I don’t know what your experience out in Jacksonville was, but everyone was nice, it was great, the food was awesome. I just couldn’t say enough nice things about Jacksonville and the experience here. So I’m glad we did it here first. I’m ready to go home, though.
Dana White also had high praise for the people at the host VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
“First of all, this arena… what’s the thing they call? Venue Shield. It’s a project they have where they literally clean the venue top to bottom which is huge,” White said. “Then there’s things like, little things, details you wouldn’t think of. You saw the guys spraying down the Octagon, wiping down the Octagon between fights. Our headphones used to just lay on the thing. Now they’re in these packages that say they’ve been sterilized.
“Obviously, you guys know me, you’ve dealt with me long enough,” White continued. “When we’re doing what we’re doing and you’re just taking unnecessary punishment, you know what I mean? You know I’m going to f**king snap eventually, and I do. But we worked hard to pull this off and get here and nothing means more to me than the safety of everyone that was involved in the event. Not just with COVID-19, but fights that weren’t stopped soon enough, or all these types of things. So every time we finish an event, I want everyone to go home safe.”
“And it’s not any different now with the COVID-19 thing,” White concluded. “And we’ll do everything in our power, we will spend the money, we will get the best, the brightest, we’ll talk to doctors, experts in the field to figure out how to beat it. One of the things I always do is I believe that nothing is impossible, everything can be done, especially in 2020. You just have to be willing to work hard enough, spend some money, and come up with solutions. And that’s what we did this week.”
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