It looks like the UFC and Dana White are going to boulder through with their plans by continuing to schedule events starting in May with UFC 249. They announced three events within a week time span to make up for some of the postponed events through March and April. They also still promised that they maintain the same number of events they committed to at the beginning of the year.
Now I miss fights just as much as the next person, but I can be realistic and consider all the implications and consequences that come with hosting a combat sport in the middle of a pandemic. This will be a two-part article, this one being why bringing back the UFC is wrong, and the next why it is a good idea just to play devils advocate. So, lets get started!
Why bringing back the UFC is wrong?
1. Weakened Immune Systems:
One of the most controversial topics in the entire sport, weight cutting, is a big red flag to compete during these difficult times. Weight cutting has been documented as a dangerous and unhealthy practice. Despite this, it has been an accepted norm in the sport. Now more than ever is it riskier because of the Covid-19.
It has been discovered that the virus more strongly effects those who are immunocompromised. When weight cutting for a fight, these athletes endure extreme dehydration for many days before the fight. These practices leave the fighters immune systems weakened and vulnerable to the virus should they get in contact with someone infected. Should they display any symptoms would they then go into the fight compromised, and not be able to perform to the best of their abilities? That would be a dangerous state to be in for a professional fight increasing the likelihood of passing it on. Or would the UFC do the right thing and cancel the fight?
2. Poor Testing:
Dana White promises that the company will employ the best testing and the best doctors available For UFC 249. The problem with this is that UFC does not have access to FDA and government approved Corona Virus testing kits. Those of which which often time takes a few days to get the results back. Those are obviously reserved for hospitals and medical centres instead of sporting events.
The tests that the UFC will be able to administer are from private companies who admit that they should not be taken as official results. It is more so used for people to have piece of mind and an indicator of their health. Many celebrities including Joe Rogan are facing controversy for being able to access tests while regular working-class people are unable to. These are the tests celebrities have access to, not the official ones. Yes, the fighters will have piece of mind, but the tests are not 100% accurate and full proof. That is excluding the chance of someone testing positive. Will the fighter continue to compete? What about everyone they got in contact with? These are questions that the UFC has not yet addressed.
3. Medical Professionals:
Any sport would have medical professionals on hand just in case anything happens. That is truer than ever for a mixed martial art even. The issue here is that front-line staff workers would be better suited to serve the community and people who are sick rather than supervising a UFC event. There are lots of waiting times for patients who are looking to see a doctor for advice and support. With doctors and medical professionals preoccupied at a UFC event, that means there are less people available to see patients.
4. Against All Prevention Recommendations:
All the messaging that we have received from medical professionals and the government and recommended that people stay home. By hosting an event the UFC staff, cornermen, cut men, fighters, and more will have to fly from all over America to Florida. Traveling and taking flights is highly discouraged during this time. It also appears that Florida has one of the most relaxed rules and restrictions out of all the states. That means they may get in contact with someone or something infected while going from the airport to the hotel and arena.
It is also highly recommended to socially distant from other individuals by six feet if people must leave their homes. Doing so is literally impossible while hosting a professional fight. There is no guarantee that every individual involved in the event will have the correct personal protection equipment such as gloves and face masks while interacting with each other. For some individuals it this is more dangerous than others. People like the cornermen, cut men, and especially the fighters run the risk of transferring bodily fluids like blood and sweat.
5. Poor Taste:
The UFC was very close to pulling off UFC 249 on April 18th. They were going to run the event at the Tachi Palace which is part of the Native American reserve. They would not be subject to the shutdown that the state of California imposed. It was only after the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, as well as the executives at ESPN and the parent company Disney asked Dana White and the UFC not to move forward with it.
There is an inherent liability involved in staging a sporting event during this pandemic. Especially considering that people are litigious in America. Should someone contract the virus, the UFC would inevitably face a lawsuit claiming that the company understood that there was a highly contagious virus and despite this wanted to move forward with the event. This would signify that peoples lives are worth less than the amount income they would have generated. That is why it is in poor taste to carry through with UFC 249. No other sporting organization like the NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS is continuing their seasons and leagues. They all understand the importance of everyone’s health. They will all get back to work when it is deemed safe to do so.
Here are five reasons why bringing back the UFC is wrong. I miss watching fights and the entertainment from sports, but it is important that the health of the athletes and everyone involved is a top priority. Only after this virus is under better control should sports resume. I will also post another article why the UFC should be back. In the meantime, please let me know what you think, leave your comments and opinions below!