Former UFC double champion Daniel Cormier was supposed to join Joe Rogan and Jon Anik at the broadcast booth at UFC 249. But after the government’s intervention, the April 18th event ended up being scrapped.
On Monday, “DC” spoke with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani to discuss the logistics of the event and how the UFC was supposed to implement social distancing guidelines between him, Anik and Rogan.
“One of the biggest worries for me was, no one can go with you — like nobody,” Cormier said (transcript by BJPenn.com). “They said ‘DC, you’ve got to come along. You’re going to check into the hotel, they’re going to screen you, and make sure you’re okay. Then you’re going to go into the arena, call the fights, then you’re going to leave.’
“I mean, in terms of what they were going to try to do to protect us, it was crazy. [Joe] Rogan, myself, and [Jon] Anik — the Octagon has eight sides — we would each be on a different side of the Octagon [rather than side-by-side] just to make sure we were social distancing away from each other.”
Cormier says he eventually saw how these plans made sense, and he was left appeased.
“By the time I was done with this conversation [with the UFC], I felt like I was almost safer at the event than I am anywhere else because it’s only people that are ok, we’re all away from each other, you go and get paid, and you’re there for a day. I could have drove up Saturday morning, called the fights, drove home Saturday night. It was perfect for me,” he said.
Like fellow analyst Dominick Cruz, Cormier also believes that if there was a company that could pull off holding a major sporting event amid the pandemic, it would be the UFC.
“I don’t disagree with what (Dana White) is doing,” Cormier said. “I feel like, I want fights. I really do. So to watch him put all this effort into trying to make it happen, it’s a little crazy but it’s what needs to happen. We’re all kind of like, just waiting. Nobody really knows what to do and somebody has to show that there’s a way to get going.
“Somebody has to do something,” he continued. “The NBA wants to get going, baseball wants to get going, everybody wants to get going. But everybody’s just waiting and they’re so afraid to kind of jump that we’re just all standing still. And I think the UFC tried and I honestly think that it would’ve worked.
“If the fight went, it would’ve worked.”
UFC 249 was supposed to banner an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. Upon the decision to cancel the said event, the company also decided to postpone all future fight cards for the time being.