UFC president Dana White has lashed out at several media outlets who've criticized him for restarting competition with little regard for coronavirus safety concerns at the league's MMA fights.
White unleashed his fury on what he called unfair criticisms from New York Times reporter Kevin Draper, who wrote about the UFC restarting its fights.
“I mean, this guy just got in the New York Times, interviewed the president of [UFC broadcaster] ESPN, Jimmy Pitaro, for 45 minutes, wasted 45 minutes of his time and never used one of his quotes,” White said, during an interview on Fox News’ "Hannity" show. “You know why? Because they were positive.”
The Guardian noted during a recent UFC pay-per-view event that various company employees practiced selective social distancing, and the show's broadcasters, as well as White, himself, were seen in the arena without masks.
The health and safety protocol for the UFC included coronavirus testing for fighters, trainers, referees and media members. The company also limited the arena to essential personnel, athletes and medical staff to perform temperature checks and medical tests.
“We were trying to figure out solutions to the problems [of enforcing coronavirus protocols] and [asking] how do you bring sports back safely and health and safety is an issue for us,” White said. “Every single weekend when we were leading up to these events, we had so many, you know, New York Times and so many other media people trying to sabotage the events so that it couldn’t happen.”
But the last event had no fans in the stands. White isn't sure when he'll be able to welcome his audience back to the arena.
“It’s crazy. It’s, it’s tough to know,” White said. “You know, you get different information from different people and different sources. You know, we’re going to end up living in a world where ... you’re going to have to sign a waiver to go to a sporting event and, you know, and say, ‘Hey, I know that, you know, the COVID-19 virus is out there and, you know, I’m going to take the risk and go to the sporting event.”
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