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UFC president Dana White is hellbent on staging UFC 249 somewhere from Florida to Dubai, amidst a global shutdown of gatherings to slow the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and discussed it recently with Yahoo Sport's Kevin Iole. White says he can run the entire card with under 100 people, but acknowledges there may be less than 12 fights.
“I promise you this. I am going to die someday. I don’t know how. I don’t know from what. But if it's the coronavirus then what am I going to do? Let’s do it. Come on coronavirus.”
Iole then asked White about the potential impact on others.
“How long are we going to hide?” replied White. “Are we going to hide for months? Are we going to shut down the whole world for months? It’s crazy.”
In the meantime, White has sheltered in mansion for nearly two weeks.
“My house is built for this,” said White. “And financially I am OK too. I could do this forever. But this isn’t what we should be doing. We have to be responsible but we need to get out and figure this out. How do we protect the people who need to be protected, but get the rest of the people out there in the world back to normal? Let’s do what we do.”
White vows that he will be cageside at UFC 249, and says fighters have the option to decline.
“I'm doing this because it's what should be done,” said White. “It has nothing to do with the money. It’s about what needs to happen. Like I just told you, I can do [social distancing] forever. People need some normalcy again. We need somebody to be the first guy to step forward and say, ‘Come on guys, let’s snap back and get going.’ ”
“It’s happening. If you want to watch it, watch it. If you don’t, don’t.”