By Joseph Gray IV

Staff Writer

How Dana White Unexpectedly Brought U.F.C. Back in a Pandemic - The New  York Times

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, masks and social distancing have been mandatory. Most sports fully stopped pursuing their season, but not Dana White! A close friend of the Trump family and owner of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champion), Dana White has decided to take matters into his own hands. 

UFC events have been held on the island of Abu Dhabi in the Middle East. Dana and the UFC have taken heavy COVID-19 safety measures such as testing, masks, social distancing, mandatory quarantine, and virus-killing mist tunnels to combat the virus. At the start of the pandemic though, Dana was faced with obstacles. At the beginning of COVID, the UFC’s Vegas 9 Event turned chaotic quickly as fighters had to drop out one after another, many of them catching COVID. Despite this, the event went on and Dana seemed quite proud of what he had accomplished.

On May 9th, 2020, the UFC held Event 249 on Abu Dhabi Island with no audience; only the fighters and their teams attended, and were tested 3-4 times before the fight. Everything went well for Dana and the UFC, with only one person dropping out for testing positive, and no major or minor outbreaks.

Now, Dana is preparing for UFC 261 to take place on April 15th, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. According to Dana White, the UFC is back once again, and will be holding the next event at full capacity; social distancing will be impossible, and a mask requirement will not be present.

Chance Ritchie, my Uncle and Florida resident, was interviewed about the soon to occur UFC 261 he bought tickets for. He was asked the simple question of, “Will you be wearing a mask?” In which he replied, “No, it’s not required, so why should I?”

Then that was followed up with two questions, the first being, “Are you vaccinated?” Mr. Ritchie seemed a little agitated and responded with, “No, I haven’t been able to get an appointment.” The second follow-up question was, “Do you fear catching COVID-19?” Mr. Ritchie proceeded to nod.

Mr. Ritchie gave this as his final statement, “Honestly, I’m taking a major risk going to this event, but my social side needs this, for over a year I’ve been stuck with all the same people. I pray I don’t catch COVID-19, but if I do, it’s because of my stupid descision to want some normalcy.”

This rising plan is raising questions, and an event got canceled last April due to a request by their partner, ESPN. People are concerned for everyone’s safety, wondering if this event should be allowed to happen. Will we have a UFC 261 or yet another canceled event?