As the UFC looks to restart its event schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dana White met (virtually) with fighters to communicate the promotion’s tentative plans, as well as answer any pertinent questions about fights, training, health, safety, etc.
According to MMA Junkie, this 25-minute call touched upon several subjects that spanned from not feeling pressured to accept a fight if they feel unsafe during the pandemic, to the likelihood that fighters will have to sacrifice some cornermen should they choose to fight.
One thing in particular that stood out was the issue of catchweight bouts. Most gyms area closed and other services will surely have an effect on a fighter’s ability to cut weight, but White apparently “doesn’t like” catchweights because they “have less meaning.”
I suppose that doesn’t necessarily mean two fighters can’t just agree to compete a full division higher than normal, but it sounds like White doesn’t want to see 140 lbs or 165 lbs matchups any time soon even under these completely unprecedented circumstances.
As far as accepting bouts in the first place, White reportedly said that priority booking will go to those who were scheduled to compete on the following postponed cards: UFC London, UFC Columbus, UFC Portland, and UFC 249. Also notable is that White apparently indicated to fighters that if they feel unsafe accepting fights during the pandemic, they won’t be pressured into saying yes.
Circling back to the cornermen issue, physical distancing guidelines in the United States would mean a reduced number of people allowed to be in a venue. Per the report, “The UFC likely will have to limit the amount of people on scene, so White said fighters will likely have to make tough decisions.”
As for where those venues will be? That’s still a secret, evidently.... Fight Island included.
The next session will be on Monday. As was the case on Friday, managers or any third-party members (e.g. legal counsel) won’t be allowed on the call.