UFC President Dana White has been able to promote dozens of UFC cards in 2020 despite the pandemic, but it hasn’t been easy—or cheap.
Speaking to TSN on Thursday, White opened up on the sheer volume of COVID-19 tests the promotion has facilitated this year, and on the massive cost of those tests.
Per Dana White, the UFC have conducted roughly 26,300 COVID-19 tests to date with a positivity rate of 0.8%.
The cost is in the neighbourhood of $17 million.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) December 11, 2020
“Per Dana White, the UFC have conducted roughly 26,300 COVID-19 tests to date with a positivity rate of 0.8%,” TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter wrote. “The cost is in the neighbourhood of $17 million.”
While it’s impossible to verify these figures from White, it’s clear that the UFC has facilitated a massive number of COVID-19 tests this year based solely on the amount of positive tests that have come up.
Over the course of 2020, dozens of fighters have tested positive for the virus, resulting in a long list of adjusted, rescheduled and outright cancelled matchups. The number of positive COVID-19 tests has seemingly spiked in recent weeks, as the UFC’s final cards of the year—all in Las Vegas—have been rocked by COVID-related shakeups. This Saturday’s UFC 256 card alone, for example, has lost 11 scheduled matchups due to positive tests since it was originally announced.
Despite the recent spike in positive COVID-19 tests inside the UFC bubble, White remains largely unconcerned about the virus, which has killed close to 300,000 people in the United States alone.
“Who knows?” White said at the post-fight press conference for last weekend’s UFC Vegas 16 card, which was hammered by the virus. “I have no idea; the COVID thing is more rampant now. Another friend that I talked to today, who lives on an island in Alaska, somewhere where they have a population of 4,000 people, over 40 people have COVID there now, and it’s like a big, huge deal.
“This stuff is definitely spreading,” White added. “When we were first going through this stuff, I didn’t know anybody that had it, and then, you know, one employee came up with it and got through it quick. But personally, somebody that I was friends with hadn’t had it yet, and now everyone’s got it, you know what I mean?
“People show up with it, or I think what happened this time, somebody had had contact with somebody else and was training their fighter and then gave it to them,” White said. “I don’t know exactly what the deal was, but – yeah, I don’t know.”
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