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President Trump speaks to UFC’s Dana White, other sports commissioners about COVID-19

The President took a conference call featuring heads of the NFL, MLB, NHL, WWE and NBA, as well as the UFC, about a potential timeline for restarting sporting events.

Dana White may have gotten his opportunity to plead his case with the President over the UFC’s need to continue putting on fights. White was among several heads of major US sports organizations who took part in a conference call with Donald Trump on Saturday. A list that included the NFL’s Roger Goodell, the NBA’s Adam Silver, baseball’s Rob Manfred, and the WWE’s own Vince McMahon among others.

The call itself was announced by White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere on Twitter. Deere said the president “recognized the good work being done by many teams & players to care for their communities, workforces, & fan bases across the Nation.” And while few other specific details weren’t made available, CBS Sports reports that Trump apparently told commissioners that he hoped to restart publicly attended sporting events by late summer or early fall.

ESPN has backed up that information, noting that Trump told commissioners that he believed the NFL season would be able to start on time in September. And apparently the President also suggested the various US sports leagues could lobby the government for tax incentives, which could help lower prices and encourage fans to return to stadiums.

The UFC has been ongoing over the past several weeks in their attempts to hold their 2020 schedule together, looking for other avenues both in the US and abroad to put together fight cards—even without a live audience in attendance. However, they’ve struggled to find venues that will allow for competitive sporting events given the stringent guidelines many state and national governments are placing on social distancing and travel.

Currently Dana White has remained adamant that the promotion will find a way to host their UFC 249 PPV event on April 18th. The card had been planned for Brooklyn, NY. At this moment, the UFC has yet to announce a final venue for the event after the New York commission was unwilling to sanction the fight card.