(Editorial Opinion is that of Scott Petersen and does not necessarily reflect the views and principles of MMAWeekly.com or its staff.)
As the world struggles to deal with the current coronavirus situation, UFC President Dana White is trying to save the show. UFC 249 in particular.
As the world has continued to spiral with shutdowns from states, countries, borders, travel, athletic commissions, and industries including major sports such as the NBA and NHL. The deck seems to be stacked against White, who has been the leader of our beloved sport of MMA as he tries to save the UFC 249 fight card.
White has continued to insist that this event will happen. He recently told Barstool Sports, “This thing is happening somewhere on April 18th. The show must go on.
“We’re doing everything that we are being told to do by the governor (of Nevada), by the president (of the United States), by the CDC. We’re doing everything we are supposed to do. We can put on a safe show with no fans. We can do it. We have the facility to do it. We have all the resources to do it. We can get this thing done.”
Besides the aforementioned obstructions, now the main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, which has already been canceled four previous times, will not happen at UFC 249. Khabib made it clear that he won’t be fighting due to the mountainous impediments before him.
But this isn’t really about Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson. This is about us. And UFC 249 needs to happen on April 18, regardless of who is in the main event. That isn’t what is important here. UFC 249 is the glimmer of hope in a dire situation.
Lately, I am sure we have all seen the malaise that has come over our society and the odd behaviors. For me it started with me watching people at Sam’s Club hoarding toilet paper as if they could eat it when times got tough. A few days ago while in the self checkout at the grocery store, the guy next to me was loaded up with Hydrogen Peroxide in his cart while cleaning the whole touch screen monitor with alcohol and then continued to sanitize the entire glass and bar code scanning area. Unfortunately, the constant panic and fear washing through our communities might have a lasting effect on us. I hope not.
What we don’t see or hear as much is a sense of calm and normalcy. I understand that this is an extraordinary event and that we can’t be ignorant to the risks and we must take care to protect ourselves, our families, and others, but we also must continue on.
UFC 249 is that sense of normalcy we need at this exact time and not so much a simple needed distraction, although that would be welcome too. It is something to show the world that we aren’t going to let this virus defeat us.
I hope and pray for Dana White, the courageous fighters, their families and teammates that they can safely make this happen.
I understand that the obstacles are huge. It’s a long shot that this event will happen. I won’t blame the UFC if they can’t make it happen. The odds against it are incredible, and there are plenty of people that think it is the wrong decision to move forward.
But if White can pull off this feat against all odds, I believe history will show that UFC 249 was a beacon of light in the darkness and that it was a moment of hope showing that there is life after the pandemic.