UFC 249: Dana White makes plans, Bob Arum fumes
UFC president Dana White’s potential plan to host UFC 249 from a private island has boxing promoter Bob Arum fuming.
With most major MMA promotions postponing events due to the current COVID-19 pandemic – including the UFC, which postponed two events in March and one in April – White has forged ahead with plans to host UFC 249, which is scheduled for April 18 from an undisclosed location.
White recently revealed to the media that he has secured a U.S. location to host UFC 249 – which include securing a private island for UFC 249, in addition to weekly fights. The main event has been altered, with Justin Gaethje stepping in for lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to face Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight belt.
White’s plans drew the ire of 88-year-old Top Rank boxing promoter Bob Arum, who heavily criticized the UFC president on a recent CBS Sports “State of Combat” podcast.
“What’s going on in this country and the world with this virus, the last thing we need is for an event to take place with no spectators just to get the event to take place,” Arum said. “But the truth is, Dana White is somebody with a flawed intelligence.”
Arum also confirmed that all of his boxing events have been shut down and no plans are being currently made.
“He’s not going to move forward with the card, and if the card happens with people dying in hospitals all over the United States, he ought to be ashamed of himself,” Arum added. “The message should be stay home and stand down until this is over. Let’s not spread the virus, let’s control the virus and do what we can to staff these hospitals and take care of people who go into intensive care.
“Let’s all be big people and big boys about it and stop the grandstanding. This will end when it ends, and it will end quicker if we all stick together and do what we are supposed to do, not go and shout from the rafters that, ‘I’m not a p—y and I’m going to put this fight on. I don’t care.’ That is absolutely the wrong message to send.”
Arum is celebrating 54 years as a boxing promoter as of March 29, when he promoted Muhammad Ali and George Chuvalo’s first fight in 1966.