Doctor Margaret Goodman, who was one of the first to ever work with the UFC in Nevada, doesn’t like that Dana White is so adamant about pushing through with UFC 249. The veteran ringside physician took to social media, saying that it just isn’t safe to host that event during a pandemic.
No clue what @UFC thinking?It's not can they find a venue & personnel,but should they?Athletes,officials, staff & Drs in direct contact with sweat,saliva,blood? #FirstResponders can't even find sufficient PPE to protect themselves. #SafetyFirst— Margaret Goodman (@MGoodmanMD) March 26, 2020
Are we asking @UFC fighters to spar with googles, masks? Best question to perhaps ask is would @ufc have their loved ones cage-side & in dressing rooms examining fighters in mid-April? Wish taking temps, asking med questions, neg Covid test was sufficient, but it's not, yet!— Margaret Goodman (@MGoodmanMD) March 26, 2020
As Dr. Goodman explains, even if the UFC put measures like having a closed door event, temperature checks and medical questions, there’s still just way too much risk.
White refused to answer if coronavirus testing will be done for UFC 249, but Francis Ngannou has gone on record to say that the UFC tested him mid-march, and came back negative. Although according to Dr. Goodman, that previous test result doesn’t carry much weight. As she explains, even if they tested closer to the event and all the fighters came out negative, it still wouldn’t be sufficient.
“What are you dealing with? You’re dealing with saliva, with sweat. You’re dealing with blood. You’re dealing with surfaces that can contain the virus for days on end,” Dr. Goodman explained in an interview with Luke Thomas.
“We don’t 100% know what the incubation period is. Someone can test negative one day, and 24-hours later, test positive.”
Even asymptomatic individuals have been shown to carry and spread the deadly virus, and Goodman doesn’t think any competent commission would approve such an event.
“Why would anybody at this time, want to risk all these individuals? Why would physicians want to risk themselves?” she asked. “I can’t imagine any commission that’s in existence would really approve that.”
"It's just very bothersome for me to even consider at this point given the risk." - Veteran fight doctor @MGoodmanMD explains to @lthomasnews why, even under under the best circumstances, it would be unsafe to hold a combat sports event during a global pandemic #TLTS pic.twitter.com/KzeOwTlqMt— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) March 27, 2020
Dr. Goodman knows there’s money involved for everyone, but with the state of things in the US and the rest of the world, it just isn’t the right time to host this event. She says it’s “bothersome” that the UFC is even trying.
“I understand. I’ve been around fighters for so many years, especially continuing with WADA and our drug testing program, we’ve worked with a lot of MMA fighters and UFC fighters as well that we’ve tested,” Dr. Goodman said. “I know they want to fight. I know a lot of these guys and girls want a paycheck. I get that, but this is not the right time to consider that at this point.
“Hopefully, maybe in a month, things would change drastically. I know they’ve put in place maybe until April 12th or April 13th, but no one knows if that’s the right date. How are fighters supposed to train? How are they supposed to be around their families? It’s just very bothersome to me to even consider this at this point given the risk.”
Medical professionals seem to all be in agreement with this, but White has been bullish on continuing with UFC 249 and says he already has a venue(s) planned. As Dr. Goodman stated though, it’s not about if they can do it, but if they should.
At the end of the day, money talks, and it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing to see the UFC skirt government mandates, ignore the risks, and host this event.