Many other sports leagues haven’t returned yet and UFC President Dana White believes it is due to finances and not the coronavirus.
“The biggest problem isn’t COVID-19,” White said after UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Burns (via Milan Ordonez of Bloody Elbow). “COVID-19 isn’t the reason all these sports leagues can’t go. These guys can figure it out. It’s financial. This is a massive financial burden on everybody’s company. It’s a huge financial burden to do all the things that you need to do to comply with keeping the place safe. I truly believe that’s the real reason that you haven’t seen any of the majors come back yet, because they’re looking at what it’s gonna cost them. And again, like I told you before, one guy makes the decision here: me. And you know me, so we’re f—ng going. These other guys, you got the league, you got different owners with different opinions and different financial situations, and it makes it a lot harder to pull off than something like this.”
Some sports leagues have returned during the pandemic, but major sports leagues like the MLB, NBA and NHL are still sitting on the sidelines at this time.
White says the promotion’s financial problems could’ve been solved by eliminating jobs, but he didn’t want to go that route.
“The easy answer to this is I lay off most of my staff, take all my executives and cut their pay in half, fighters don’t fight,” he said. “That’s not what I do. That’s not what I’m paid to do. That’s not the way I’m built. That’s not the way I think and look at things. I feel like in the position that I’m in, I have an obligation to a lot of people. 350 employees here in Las Vegas who’ve worked hard for me for the last 20 years, fighters… I just feel like I have an obligation to all of these people. I have an obligation to the fans.”
Endeavor, who is the UFC’s parent company, has had massive layoffs during the pandemic, but those layoffs have yet to affect the MMA promotion.