Here's why Dana White and the UFC deserve some praise
It has not been the easiest couple of months for UFC President Dana White. Fighters are "retiring" over money and there is clearly a rift going on within the organization.
Those are other topics for another time.
This is about how White also faced significant criticism for putting on fights during the Rona epidemic. For all of that, the cards have gone off smoothly and his organization has provided a blue print for bringing back other sports.
They did a card on March 13 with no fans, then stepped back. Since then, there have been five fight cards and just two positive tests, both from the first event back where a fighter and his cornerman test positive and were quarantined. The event went off without a hitch beyond that. The four since then have gone smoothly. That is enough of a sample size to call what White has done a success.
For all the criticism that White was risking lives to make money, he was simply ahead of the curve. Other sports are trying to come back now, and they have an inspiration.
It might not work for everyone else, because fight camps keep contact with others low, and the actual fight involves just two people and a ref. Basketball, hockey and soccer bring a lot of people into contact and close proximity, so the risk will be higher.
But these sports should come back to give us distraction in a world that is falling apart around us. The economic impact they have will be helpful as well. White has shown them the way.
But it was not just the UFC. Horse racing has been going full bore without fans the entire time. Very few cases have been reported. The no fans policy has had zero impact on the televised product and in fact, record betting has taken place at many tracks due to online wagering. There are a lot more people to come into contact with at a racetrack, and so far, that has been a success as well. No one has really criticized the tracks. That burden fell on White.
As the other sports come back, they should thank White for being the first and absorbing all the criticism that came with it.
White was determined and had a vision, and he followed through with it. So far, it has to be called a complete success.
Now maybe the same will happen for the other sports.