Coronavirus Outbreak: UFC’s Dana White says “we’re gonna prove that pro sports can come back safely”

Published on 10 May 2020

Justin Gaethje scored a surprise knockout victory over Tony Ferguson to win the interim lightweight title at UFC 249, which took place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday.

With over 80,000 deaths in the United States due to COVID-19, the UFC has come under fire for putting on the event, which took place with no fans in the stands and with stringent health and safety protocols in place.

Apart from the fighters, the referees and the commentators, event staff wore face masks and only one corner-man per fighter was allowed into the cage in the breaks between rounds.

UFC president Dana White said afterward that he considered the coronavirus protocols they used successful and they would prove that professional sports could come back safely.

A planned middleweight bout between Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Uriah Hall at UFC 249 was called off after Souza tested positive for COVID-19 following his arrival in Florida.

The mixed martial arts event is biggest pro sports event to take place in the U.S. in the two months since the pandemic started here and White said he was fielding calls from several leagues, and even some states, about their procedures.

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