In the eyes of many, the COVID-19 pandemic is largely over. And while on a national basis laboratory-confirmed cases are down substantially from the peak in early April, they are rising over the past 14 days in 20 states. And while President Donald Trump has said he doesn't anticipate another national shutdown, the situation remains in flux on a state by state basis and could potentially worsen.
UFC president Dana White drove the league to become the first major sport to return to live broadcasts, and at the UFC on ESPN 11 pre-fight media scrum, said plans are underway to deal with another potential widespread shutdown nationally.
“I told you guys going into this thing I’m always thinking about what’s next,” said White. “And one of the frustrating parts about this whole thing is, I keep telling this story, I was telling it again this morning: Four months ago, I could have told you everything about this business, where’s it’s going, where it’s going to happen. I don’t know now. So all I do is sit around and strategize and try to plan. And I’m planning for a second shutdown, that it will happen again.”
“I’m always thinking about the worst, what’s the worst thing that can – when you hear [fighters] talking about when they train, they put themselves in the worst positions they can possibly be in, that’s how I look at this business, too. What’s the worst position we can possibly be in? And my number one goal is always I don’t want to lay off any of my employees, and I don’t want fighters sitting inactive and not being able to compete.
“When you’re a professional athlete, you have a very small window of opportunity, a very limited amount of time. You know, we get into all the money s*** and stuff that’s going on right now. Everybody acts like this is a career. This isn’t a career. This is not a career. This is an opportunity. Anything can happen at any given moment. Your knee could pull out. Your back. Your this, your that. COVID-19, who the hell knows what is coming down the pipeline?”