Dana White talks Khabib vs. Tony, coronavirus and the future of the UFC

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
Dana White talks Khabib vs. Tony, coronavirus and the future of the UFC

LAS VEGAS — I had the chance to sit down and do a comprehensive interview with UFC president Dana White about the status of UFC 249, other things going on in his company and the state of the economy in Las Vegas.

White reiterated what he told me on Monday, when he crashed an Instagram Live chat I was doing and said that UFC 249, headlined on April 18 by a lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and challenger Tony Ferguson, will go on as scheduled.

White added that he had multiple sites, both in the U.S. and internationally, he’s considering to host the event.

Here is a breakdown of what we discussed:

  • At 1:00, I asked White where 249 would be held. He said, “I’m not going to tell you. Everybody’s on a need to know basis right now and nobody needs to know.”

  • At 1:55, I ask White if everyone who attends UFC 249 — and no fans will be there — will be tested for the coronavirus. White said he hasn’t left his house since March 15.

  • At 3:13, I told White, “I don’t understand your reluctance to say whether they’re going to be tested.” He said, “The less the media knows, the better.”

  • At 5:12, White praises Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak for putting a lockdown order in effect last week.

  • At 6:16, White said, “The question becomes, how long are we going to do this? How long are we going to stay in our houses and hide?”

  • At 7:55, I said to White, “You are not a coronavirus expert,” and suggested listening to doctors. He responded passionately.

  • At 8:30, he said, “I’ve had a great run. If the coronavirus is what’s going to get me, I’m ready. Bring it, corona.”

  • At 9:14, White discusses the impact of closing the casinos has had on the economy in Las Vegas. 

  • At 9:50, he said he believes a rematch between Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor would be the biggest fight ever.

  • At 10:20, White discusses the schedule following UFC 249. He said the company will put on postponed fight cards as well as keeping its schedule. He said there could be multiple shows in a week.

  • At 11:15, White suggests there will be many events at UFC Apex, his new arena near his Las Vegas campus.

  • At 12:20, I asked White about former champion Daniel Cormier’s future.

  • At 13:38, White said heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic “is getting better.”

  • At 14:25, I asked White about the economics of boxing. He’s looked to get into the sport, and I asked him if he thought boxing could survive under its current economic model.

  • At 24:00, I asked him about where he thinks the UFC will be on Jan. 1, 2021.

  • At 25:18, White talks proudly about not having laid anyone off during the pandemic.

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