As far as UFC president Dana White is concerned, UFC 249 will go on as planned on April 18. Experts don’t see the logic in putting competitors at risk, but former champion Dominick Cruz sees the upside in pushing through with the event.
Cruz, who also works as a color commentator for the promotion, has faith in how the company will handle the situation, in terms of protecting the fighters involved.
“Some people are saying, ‘You’re supposed to be on lockdown,’” he told MMA Fighting. “As far as I know, when this fight goes forward, they’re going to follow the rules of the lockdown — and I don’t know anything. The UFC hasn’t told me anything. Nobody knows anything.
“If you follow the protocols, this fight can happen safely. I believe that, in the right venue, on television, because there’s not going to be anybody in the venue. So I believe that it’s possible, but at the same time, I think it’s a way to hype up the entire world if you think about it.”
As the entire sports world goes on a halt, “The Dominator” feels it is on the UFC to provide some form of respite from the anxiety and uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a real opportunity, especially with being the fastest growing sport in the world,” Cruz said. “In fighting, we personify the idea of, you get hit, you get back up and keep moving. If there was ever a sport that makes sense to air during this virus, it would be an MMA fight where the world is frozen, but you can’t kill us completely.
“You still have some entertainment going on, and we’re staying safe when we do it. We’re not letting the virus completely ruin every ounce of everything in the world, and I see it as somewhat of a motivation. We can still live life, we can still grow, we can still fight for things.
“The entertainment that will be seen from that fight card when all other sports are shut down, think of how many eyes are going to be on it. People are begging for entertainment in the sports realm, and if you can have it where just two people can show up safely, be televised, maybe have someone commentating to explain to the world what’s going on in this sport, this could be the most seen fight in the history of ever. It has the possibility to do that, and I see that as a huge motivation for all of the world right now, being as we’re all in a pandemic and trying to stay in.
“We’ll all have something to look to that’s still going, that’s still thriving, that’s still growing, that still has drive and vision,” he continued. “And that would be fighters in these moments.”
UFC 249 remains in limbo, with no venue and headliner finalized. Fight night is less than two weeks away.