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Dana White says vaccine requirement is ‘the problem’ preventing UFC’s return to Canada

We might not see the UFC return to Canada in a while.

Canadian flag in the crowd during UFC 154: Sakara v Cote Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

A lot of countries are opening up, with full capacity crowds being increasingly common and requirements for quarantine and testing being dropped by many as governments try to adjust to life during a pandemic. That apparently aren’t the only things stopping the UFC from returning to their full international schedule though.

The UFC is gearing up for shows in Singapore and France, but Dana White says that hosting shows in countries like Canada still isn’t very likely.

“Uh, I don’t know yet. We’ll see. It all depends on how the world gets back to normal,” White told Aaron Bronsteter about a potential return to Canada. “Obviously Canada is a huge market for us. Canada is a big part of our history — love it up there.

“It’s just going to depend on whether the world gets back to normal. I wanna go back to Canada this year, but let’s see.”

Canada is currently open to tourists and have hosted numerous big events lately, with mask mandates dropped and full capacity crowds allowed. So when pressed on more specifics, the UFC President admitted that the issue is with the country’s vaccination requirements.

“I think that in Canada right now, we’d need a fully vaccinated card. Everybody on the card has to be vaccinated,” White said. “Yeah, that’s the problem.”

Is the amount of vaccinated UFC stars so low that they can’t build a quality card in Canada and other countries with similar requirements? Is that percentage also similar among the UFC brass and its employees that need to travel to those shows?

White and other UFC personalities downplayed the pandemic and contributed to vaccine misinformation in the past, so could this perhaps be out of principle? Or is this all just about the UFC not wanting to go through any added steps when they have more convenient options available?

Either way, it’s interesting that a seemingly minor requirement they can workaround on is stopping them from accessing what White calls a lucrative and “huge market” for the UFC.