UFC was one of the last in the sports world to call off its events in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and it will soon become the first to resume.
Dana White told Yahoo Sports on Monday that he’s “excited” for UFC 249 to take place this weekend, and while there’s much anxiety surrounding what will be the first major sporting event since the onset of COVID-19 in the U.S., someone "has to be first," he said.
“Nobody wants to be first, man,” White told Yahoo Sports. “Nobody wants to be first and take that chance. We’re talking about fighters who want to go in and want to compete. Everybody who is involved in this event wants to be involved in this event. From my employees on up.”
“Somebody has to be first," he added. The fight is slated to take place Saturday at 10 p.m. ET.
The company announced last month that UFC 249 and two other events will take place in Florida without fans, after previously being postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can’t wait to deliver some great fights for the fans,” White said in a statement at the time. “My team is ready to go and the fighters are excited to get back in there with these back-to-back events.”
UFC has not held an event since March 14 -- an event that White points to as an example of success.
“The fights were great. Nobody got sick,” he told Yahoo Sports. “Think of how much smarter we are now and how much more money we’re going to spend to throw at this thing to make sure everybody’s safe.”