The UFC is set to return to action next month with UFC 249, which is going to be an empty arena event in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Brian Butler manages many UFC fighters under Sucker Punch Entertainment and he says the UFC is respecting those who choose not to compete during the pandemic.
“They don’t want to fight, it’s completely understood,” Butler told MMA Fighting. “We’ve been asked to basically put together a list of our athletes that are domestic that are interested in fighting and that’s it. Even if there are fighters who had signed bout agreements and contracts before all of this went down, if they don’t want to fight in this time period, it’s not like anybody’s upset with anybody. It’s completely understood. At the same time, I understand why the UFC wants to get things going again. Like [Suckerpunch manager Bryan] Hamper said, the country needs something right now, because everybody’s just stuck. Watching Netflix is getting old. I applaud the UFC for trying to get it going, and I hope they find a safe way to get it going, because a lot of fighters want to do it and a lot of people want to watch it.”
This coronavirus pandemic also affected the UFC, as the promotion was forced to postpone multiple cards due to the virus.
Even though the UFC is expected to run events next month, one thing Butler admits is that the promotion doesn’t have all the answers concerning the coronavirus.
“The UFC doesn’t even have the answers right now,” Butler said. “All I know is they’re fighting hard to try to put together shows and get everything back on track as safely and fast as possible. That’s basically it. We have to show some patience. For the fighters that want to fight, when the time comes, they will fight. That’s not going to be a problem. For the ones that don’t want to fight, they won’t have to until they feel safe.”
WorldOMeters reports that 2,693,742 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, while a total of 188,148 folks have died due to the virus.