From the beginning of the Covid-19 shutdown in the United States, Dana White has vowed that the UFC would be the first major sport to get back in the game, and on Saturday night that’s set to become a reality when UFC 249 airs live from Jacksonville, Florida on pay-per-view.
“It’s not even about being first.” White said in a new interview with Yahoo! Sports. “I was ready to continue rolling. If it were up to me, we would have kept going this entire thing. [Expletive]. I can’t wait, man.
“My team are a bunch of [expletive] savages. That’s the team that I have here. This is where you find out. It’s all great when everybody’s making money, the economy is [expletive] booming and we have big Christmas parties at the end of the year. I’m like, “I [expletive] love you guys, and yeah … ” You know what I mean? This is when you [expletive] find out, who do you really want to be in the foxhole with when [expletive] goes down?
“The UFC is back. Our schedule is back on, and we’re rolling right through the rest of the year.”
During the interview White also detailed how this upcoming series of three events in eight days came about, revealing how the plan took shape just days after the originally planned date for UFC 249 on April 18th was shutdown by his broadcast partners at ESPN / Disney.
“I was exhausted, man,” White admits of his mood when the event was postponed. “I was [expletive] mentally, physically exhausted. My soul was [expletive] tired, OK?”
However, it didn’t take him long to regroup.
“I woke up and I felt like a million [expletive] bucks. I called [UFC Chief Business Officer] Hunter [Campbell], and I said, ‘We’re going to give ESPN the weekend off. They’ve had a rough [expletive] week, OK?’
“Then I said, ‘On Monday, we’re booking another [expletive] event. So on Monday, we booked May 9. I told Hunter, ‘Call [expletive] Florida, get this [expletive] [expletive] dialed in. Monday, I called Jimmy Pitaro, and said, ‘We’re going May 9.’ ”
That leaves the UFC taking center-stage on Saturday night, ahead of other sports like Nascar and PGA Tour Golf who are getting back underway on May 17th and June 11th respectively, but White is not anxious about that responsibility on his shoulders.
“It’s going to feel great. I’m excited.”