Dana White On Crowds Returning to UFC: “If They Open It Back up to Fans, That’s the First Thing We’re Going to Do”


Las Vegas, NV — Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier 3 was officially announced by the UFC this week. The date, August 15. The location for the heavyweight title fight and trilogy rubber match?

TBD. To be determined.

That’s a subject UFC Dana White was questioned about Friday, following the UFC on ESPN 10 weigh-in. The reasoning for that TBD, it turns out, is simple: no one knows what the world will look like in August. The coronavirus pandemic has left a lot of unknowns.

“Location to be determined because we literally don’t know how this whole thing is going to play out. I don’t know what’s going to happen by August,” White told media outlets including Cageside Press. “I don’t know where we’re going to be, as far as quarantine, masks, coronavirus cases. I’m just playing it safe.”

On the possibility of going somewhere with fans, White said it’s possible. If that were an option. “Yeah. Yeah. Listen, if they open it back up to fans, that’s the first thing we’re going to do. We’re going to head to an arena where fans can go,” he stated.

Before you call that a pipe dream, keep in mind that on Friday, Bare Knuckle FC, the upstart bare knuckle boxing organization that has cashed in off the likes of former UFC stars Artem Lobov, Jason Knight, Hector Lombard, and others, announced BKFC 11 for Florida — and the plan is to have fans back.

How exactly that will look — whether it includes mandatory masks, social distancing, or anything else — remains to be seen. Just to attend weigh-ins and fight night for this week’s UFC card, journalists have been required to take two tests for COVID-19. There’s plenty of social distancing as well.

In the meantime, the UFC will focus on shows in Nevada, followed by Fight Island. Which is actually Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Not the tropical paradise, fights on a beach fantasy that many had hoped for. However unlikely.

There’s simple logistical reasons why that couldn’t happen, White explained. “First of all the lighting grid. You couldn’t put the lighting grid on a beach. You could try it, I don’t think it’s going to turn out very well,” he noted. Then there’s mother nature. “I’m always afraid of the elements — wind, rain. All the things that can happen. I like the comfort and safety of an arena, and pulling off a perfect show.”

“Pulling off what the fantasy of Fight Island was is pretty tough,” White admitted. “And I think it would look like sh*t on TV too.”


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