A hail of criticism had followed Dana White’s announcement that UFC 249 would go ahead despite a crisis of epic proportions going on around the world.
As the dust settled on Saturday night’s action, the event has largely been labeled a success. But was it?
Well, US bookies believed that around $150m would be wagered on the show, so maybe that is part of the thinking. The fact that three people tested positive for coronavirus during the week could tell another story.
It will take a few more weeks to divulge whether the fallout will be scrutinized any further. By that time, the UFC could have at least another event completed.
Those three cases of COVID-19 put firm question marks on the staging of boxing events anytime soon. Promoters would have been watching and studying UFC 249 closely.
White has since taken flak for his insistence that the show must go on. The likes of Eddie Hearn, Frank Warren, Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya are now considering staging summer events.
June dates are said to be in the pipeline, but wouldn’t it be best to see where UFC 249 lies in terms of transmission of the virus before anyone else even thinks of doing similar?
Boxing can learn if they do the right thing. Without rushing into anything too brash.
If we are to restart our sport for the longer term, we need to learn from others’ mistakes. Clearly, three positive tests from a single event, with no clue on the wider scale of infection, is not the way to go.
Is this acceptable from now on? – That three people will be allowed to get COVID-19 per event? – Where do we draw the line and say, NO – nobody should be getting this disease at a sporting event?
It’s a tough one. But maybe a clear one. More is needed to be known on the situation before we continue.
Sadly, this probably won’t be the case and events will begin happening from June. Inevitably, there will be cases at these shows.
It begs the question, ‘how many cases do we accept as normal’ when allowing infections in order to watch people punch each other in the face.
The dilemma rages on.