The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down pretty much every major sport, and most minor ones too. Due to the limitations on crowd gatherings and travel restrictions, not to mention the obvious need for the athlete safety, there isn’t much going on right now. That includes boxing, which has seen all the major promotions delaying or canceling events until things get better.
One of the biggest boxing promoters in the world, Top Rank’s Bob Arum, is among those playing it safe. As a guest on CBSSports’ “State of Combat” podcast, the 88-year-old made it clear that his events are on the shelf indefinitely. And he took UFC president Dana White to task for his continuing attempts to make UFC 249 happen on April 18th as scheduled:
“[White] ought to be ashamed of himself,” Arum said. “What’s going on in this country and the world with this virus, the last thing we need is for an event to take place with no spectators just to get the event to take place. But the truth is Dana White is somebody with a flawed intelligence.”
It didn’t end there. Arum, who has had a longstanding feud with White over their business practices and a litany of other issues, continued to vilify White for his questionable decision-making:
“He’s not going to move forward with the card, and if the card happens with people dying in hospitals all over the United States, he ought to be ashamed of himself,” Arum said. “The message should be stay home and stand down until this is over. Let’s not spread the virus, let’s control the virus and do what we can to staff these hospitals and take care of people who go into intensive care.
”Let’s all be big people and big boys about it and stop the grandstanding. This will end when it ends, and it will end quicker if we all stick together and do what we are supposed to do, not go and shout from the rafters that, ‘I’m not a p---y and I’m going to put this fight on. I don’t care.’ That is absolutely the wrong message to send.”
When Bob Arum of all people is a voice of reason about pretty much anything, that should tell you something about how White’s obsession with putting on this event is going to hurt much more than its going to help. Nonetheless, UFC 249 is still scheduled to take place, though it currently lacks a confirmed venue and a main event.