No masks needed at UFC 261 - Dana White says media was being ‘crazy’ about COVID-19

Photo by Sportsfile/Corbis/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Despite the on going pandemic, the UFC will be hosting a fully packed event with 15,000 fans in Florida this weekend. Dana White has been constantly fired up about the idea of being “first,” and says UFC 261 will mark one of the coolest moments of his career.

White, who has repeatedly downplayed COVID-19, says he’s truly excited about finally leaving their “bubble” at the UFC Apex center. The UFC President says those were started mainly to prevent fights from falling out and to appease the media anyway.

“The reality is, we had to create a bubble that would be safe, so first of all, the athletes wouldn’t end up with COVID and have all these fights falling out. But the media was being so crazy about the whole COVID thing, you had to make the media feel safe,” White told Yahoo! Sports.

The UFC President, who always insisted on him never wearing a mask, announced that masks are optional for fans attending their full-capacity event on Saturday.

“In Jacksonville, everything is opening up again. Even in Vegas, it’s going to be open June 1st, but 100% open in July,” he said. “There’s still going to be some things that are set in place. We’re still going to have a bubble for the athletes, and things like that. But as far as the fans, you can wear a mask, or you can not wear a mask. It’s up to you. It’s your decision.”

White was then asked if fighters competing in the event have vaccinated, and if UFC is trying to push for it to happen.

“What we did is all of our employees have been vaccinated — we made sure that all of our employees that are here with a Nevada residence have vaccinated,” White responded. “The problem is state to state. I have employees in California, and the ring card girls, and stuff like that too. They don’t like giving it out to people from other states.

“So whatever states the fighters live in, they need to check with their local people and see about getting vaccinated.”

QAnon conspiracy outlets and far-right nationalists like Steve Bannon have praised the UFC for the being first to host a massive full-capacity event, calling White a “great patriotic supporter of President Donald Trump.”

Florida has the third worst state in terms of COVID numbers in the US, with cases and deaths from new variants still surging and being linked to maskless spring break festivities. After UFC 261, the promotion’s next full capacity event will be held in Texas, the state with the second highest number of cases at around 2.9 million.


digging the choice of photo

because i. can’t. even. on the whole no mask full capacity shit


So Covid is a media frenzy, but he has fighters drop out and still feeling the affects of Covid?

whatever it's sean selby's fault, whatever it is.

This Saturday's Triple Header is going to be a BLAST with a full crowd!

Hosting a viewing party, 65" UHD TV with Dolby Theatre Surround Sound, with the full crowd it will feel like we are all Octagon Side! Love the feel of a full, loud audience, so much more exciting, tons of booze, munchies, & weed, live in WA State, LOL!

the Wild Dabbling Ducks . . . sounds like a cool name for a band.

Dana, is that you?

581,542 . . . is just a number I copied from another website, it is nothing to go crazy about.

You can smoke carcinogenic cigarettes, or you don’t have to smoke. It’s up to you. It’s your decision, or something like that. Please avoid smoking inside hospital facilities, nursing homes, that’s probably not a good look.

Vaccinations in the U.S.

It is astonishing the hypocrisy in which most Americans live.

Speak about the coronavirus-"we need the government to dictate this"

At the same time "china is communist and terrible and control everything and kill people"

It's almost like "government" is a more nuanced subject than "good / bad"

We need government intervention in a public health crisis to ensure people are following scientifically-established safe practices (masking, distancing, etc).

We do not need governments to round up ethnic groups for forced sterilization and slavery.

Was that hard?

Dana White: medical expert.

I mean, apparently

Sure it's dumb but you also have to point the finger at the government for not mandating masks at such events. It shouldn't even be the UFC's choice whether to require it.

the government? (city, state or federal?)

Texas, Florida, California and New York had mixed results with their different set of rules and different responses to the increasing case load numbers and the politics. There never was a federal mandate. Michigan is an interesting case study, folks wanted to kidnap and possibly kill the Governor because of the early state mandates.

Every goddamn level should be screaming for covid controls... !!! Don't even ask city, state or federal, man!!

I genuinely don't understand*

It’s serious enough that he’s vaccinating his employees, and several fighters have pulled out – some coughing up blood

But it’s also so trivial that we should pack people into a building in the middle of a pannie sty? This guy is so transparent, immoral, and heartless.

(*I completely understand. $$$ >>>> some goof’s life)

I think as usual the situation...

…is complicated. It’s obviously a very nasty disease for many and is worse than any flu year I’ve ever lived through, vaccinations for older people seem to strongly make sense and there does seem something wrong with packed indoor arenas of shouting fans. Having said that, there’s no statistically significant evidence the little masks people wear bring any net benefit and it’s definitely true that most media and many governments have been inappropriately scaring people witless and exaggerating the risks.

Fortunately Dana is the master of nuance and managed to convey the subtleties of this complex situation in his comments.

Every study says masks help fight the spread of coronavirus

Do a google search right now, and you’ll see the CDC, WHO, Johns Hopkins, UCSF, The Mayo Clinic, and the Cleveland Clinic, all on the first page, all saying that masks help.

There's little benefit in...

getting into an exchange of web hits regarding the efficacy of masks, since it seems to be one of many those topics on which views are formed followed by which evidence is sought to support that view.

But since you directed me to the WHO, I have indeed previously looked at WHO guidance on this topic, from studies they reported on using data from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) – the gold standard. They stated, ‘Ten RCTs were included in the meta-analysis, and there was no evidence that facemasks are effective in reducing transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.’ Noting that flu is different to covid, the findings substantially stand due to the lack of counter evidence and similarity of viron size.

Interestingly they also concluded,

"Face masks worn by asymptomatic people…Although there is no evidence that this is effective in reducing transmission, there is mechanistic plausibility for the potential effectiveness of this measure.

A disposable surgical mask is recommended to be worn at all times by symptomatic individuals when in contact with other individuals. Although there is no evidence that this is effective in reducing transmission, there is mechanistic plausibility for the potential effectiveness of this measure."

ie WHO actively recommended their use in certain situations, though based on theory rather than any supporting data.

That’s why I didn’t say ‘masks don’t provide any reduction in covid transmission’, rather I stated "there’s no statistically significant evidence the little masks people wear bring any net benefit".

You’ll note I also used the phrase "net benefit". It is indeed entirely plausible that they reduce some person to person viral spread, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t other negative health effects on the user, which from an overall societal perspective, outweigh the benefits.

If people want to wear little masks, they can. In the absence of statistical evidence they provide a net benefit though, I will believe there is no statistical evidence they provide net benefit.

I think that’s what Dana was trying to say.

So this is absolutely incorrect

There absolutely is objective evidence showing that masks reduced Covid transmission. Before I bother doing the leg work though, is there any amount of data I could provide that would convince you, or have you just decided that masks are dumb?

if it cheers you up, ted nugent got covid and says he almost died. ted nugent was famous for not wearing a mask, and claiming it was just the flu.

There is no amount of data that would help

After all, this is "one of many those topics on which views are formed followed by which evidence is sought to support that view."

Yeah, little masks don't help...

we need at least N95 or KN95 now that airborne transmission’s proven. And vaccinating at-risk people of all ages makes better sense.

That’s a bad take

Yeah, little masks don’t help..

You can believe that but it contradicts all of the available evidence to date. Studies have shown that some types of masks are more effective than others, but that all masks provide at least some benefit when worn correctly.

I don't believe that...

should’ve used the sarcasm font. Any mask is better than no mask. That mask wearing is still a contentious issue when we should be thinking about better quality masks is dumbfounding.

Should doctors and nurses stop wearing masks during surgeries or when helping women deliver a baby, or is the net benefit too low?

Well, to play the Devil’s Advocate, at one point in history, doctors did not think washing their hands was important. Many women were dying while delivering babies but you couldn’t really pin that on male doctors not washing their hands. To this day, some doctors don’t thoroughly wash their hands, booze up, smoke cigarettes and take illegal drugs.

So who really knows. It is complicated.

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