UFC staffers can rest assured their jobs will stay put, the MMA promotion’s President said Wednesday. Dana White was fired up in a recent Instagram live chat, responding to accusations that the UFC would be laying off personnel as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In the chat, which was captured and later posted to social media, White rants about a “scumbag” journalist who published a report he claims stated “UFC hit with layoffs.” Without ever identifying the author or publication, White railed against what he felt was a journalist “gloating” over the potential loss of jobs. “Most of what you read is not true,” he insisted. “Literally these scumbags write lies and this guy was gloating about it and saying stuff like, ‘Hey Dana, you have bosses now. You should check with them before you whatever.’”
White would go on to contradict that idea. “No I don’t. You don’t know anything about this f*cking situation, and you definitely know nothing about the sport, you jerk off,” he railed.
“Nobody’s getting laid off, it’s not gonna happen. The other side of Endeavor laid some people off. I’m not laying anybody off. It’s not gonna happen,” he promised.
Earlier in the week, multiple media outlets ran verified reports on UFC parent company Endeavor laying off a percentage of their workforce in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The L.A. Times noted that up to 250 employees were facing the axe. With over half a million people infected worldwide, the death toll from the virus (SARS-CoV-2) and the resulting disease (COVID-19) has surpassed 22,000 — with over 1,000 dead in the United States, and over 7,500 dead in Italy, which has eclipsed China as the hardest-hit nation in terms of fatalities.
It’s the second time in a week White has lashed out at reporters, without naming specific names. He previously called MMA media members “the weakest, wimpiest people on Earth,” over criticism that he was behaving recklessly by refusing to cancel events while the rest of the world went into lockdown in an attempt to save lives and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. The NBA and NHL have postponed their seasons, the XFL has cancelled theirs, while Major League Baseball cancelled Spring Training and has pushed back the start of their season.
Ultimately, White’s hand was forced when even the UFC’s home state of Nevada opted to put combat sports on hold. UFC London, UFC Columbus, and UFC Portland where all postponed as a result — the plan had been to host them at the UFC Apex, in a panicked move to relocate shows while nation after nation instituted bans on mass gatherings.
White has stated, however, that April’s UFC 249 — expected to feature the long-awaited showdown between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson — will go forward as planned. A location has been set, the UFC President claimed repeatedly this week, although he has not yet publicly confirmed where that location might be.
At this point, the only major live shows carrying on in the face of the pandemic appear to be the UFC, and professional wrestling. The WWE has been busy shooting a pre-taped WrestleMania at its Performance Center in Florida, which is expected to air in April over the course of two nights. AEW, the WWE’s main competition, has continued to shoot live events in an empty venue in Florida. However on the most recent edition of AEW Dynamite, no more than ten performers and staff members could be seen in the arena at any given point. With the need for judges and corners in addition to fighters and camera crew, etc., the UFC would be hard-pressed to repeat that feat.