"I'm gonna try to pull of Tony vs. Khabib on April 18 and try to get some normalcy back into this country."
UFC president Dana White has insisted for weeks that he will do everything in his power to keep the UFC 249 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson together for its originally slated April 18 date. The promotion has postponed or cancelled at least three events with any upcoming dates looking questionable because of localized restrictions.
UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson had been scheduled for Brooklyn, but New York is the hardest hit state when it comes to the covid-19 pandemic. State officials notified White early on that UFC 249 would not be allowed to take place in New York on April 18. He's been trying to hold it together ever since.
Even though much of the United States has shelter in place orders or is at least urging extremely restricted movement, White has continued to work on keeping Khabib vs. Ferguson intact to one degree or another. If he does pull it off, the fight card is surely going to look nothing like the original plan.
"Every day that I work on this thing, I get another curve ball thrown at me when I wake up," White said in an interview on Hotboxin' with Mike Tyson. "Every time we plan something, it falls apart. Gotta redo it, redo it. I have four or five locations right now. We're getting this deal done. Then we're gonna figure out who we can get in, who we can't, and build a card around it."
White has been the focus of much scrutiny when it comes to his insistence upon keeping the UFC 249 event together on April 18, but he says he has followed all the restrictions put in place by the U.S. and Nevada.
White complying, but questions pandemic response
While he praised the actions of longtime friend President Donald Trump and Nevada Governer Steve Sisolak, White questioned whether or not it was the right move to largely shut down the entire world in trying to reduce the spread of the pandemic.
"Everybody is running and hiding. I'm one of those guys that would rather get out there and find solutions. How do we figure this out? How do we beat this thing? Listen, if you are somebody that is a high risk, you should probably stay away and stay quarantined for a while, but what happens when flu season comes again next year? What's gonna happen then?" White pondered.
"I think in a year or two, we're gonna go 'holy s--t,' we shut down the whole world for this thing."
Despite his outlook on the situation, White added that he has been complying with restrictions and will continue to do so. In fact, he said he's taken advantage of the time he's spent self-quarantined with his family.
"I'm looking at the positive side, just spending time with my family, hanging out at my house and doing things that I don't normally get to do. I been working out like crazy. I'm gonna come out of this thing better than I went in," said White.
"I've been a good boy. I'be been doing what I've been told to do. I've been locked in my house. Everybody is complying, so we'll see how this thing plays out."
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Mike Tyson interviews Dana White about UFC 249 and covid-19 pandemic
(Courtesy of Hotboxin' with Mike Tyson)