The UFC and it’s president, Dana White have released an almost five-minute video on social media recently, launching criticism at some prominent mixed martial arts reporters and journalists — who voiced their displeasure with the promotion’s plans to continue hosting events during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic without any clear testing protocol during the initial months of the year.
Forced to host events behind a closed gate since UFC Fight Night Brasilia in March, the promotion also halted shows in London and relocated a trio of events in the United States, to Jacksonville, Florida — after original plans to locate the events at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, California was thrown out by executives from partners, Disney and ESPN.
Maintaining a busy schedule, the organization landed in Abu Dhabi, UAE in both July and October, hosting a shedload of both Fight Night and PPV events, with plans in place for the first three events of 2021 to take place on Yas Island to boot.
In the video released and posted by leader, White, he took aim at several members of the mixed martial arts media, including the likes of investigative reporter, Karim Zidan, CBS Sports’, Brian Campbell, MMA Fighting’s, Alexander K. Lee — as well as former UFC lightweight contender, Josh ‘The Punk’ Thomson, and former referee, ‘Big’ John McCarthy who voiced their opinion on their podcast, Weighing In.
Detailing how the promotion had retained all employees over the course of the year, as well as setting numerous social media and store records — it wasn’t all plain sailing for the North American-based outfit, however.
Continuing with an as usual as possible schedule, the promotion was forced to cancel fights and find short-notice replacements more often than not — with a slew of fighters, cornermen, and coaches all returning positive COVID-19 test results.
Among those testing positive for the novel coronavirus, we’ve got former UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt — who’s still dealing with health issues since he originally tested positive back in August, as well as Gilbert Burns, Leon Edwards, Thiago Santos, Glover Teixeira, Irene Aldana, Rafael dos Anjos, Kevin Holland, and Curtis Blaydes to name a few.
With three upcoming events on ‘Fight Island’ in January, the promotion lands on January 16th. — with a high-stakes featherweight matchup between former champion, Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway, and surging striker, Calvin Kattar taking main event honours in the premier event of the year.