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Friday, July 10, 2020

California shows inconsistency in telling UFC 249 to shut down

Dana White

Some of California’s politicians flexed their muscles by essentially telling the UFC to shut down its plans to host UFC 249 at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, Calif. on April 18.

California is under a shelter-in-place rule as mandated by the state government for efforts related to the containment of COVID-19. Under this order, only businesses that are deemed essential are allowed to continue operating.

Tachi Palace is located on tribal land, which is a loophole Dana White was exploiting to avoid the shelter-in-place rules.

Though there is zero doubt that White was trying to find a workaround the current state law, the state showed some inconsistency regarding the issues it took with the UFC event.

In her statement on the matter, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said: “This event would involve dozens of individuals flying to California and driving to a casino for a purpose no one can honestly claim is essential.

“I understand this event is scheduled to take place on tribal land and therefore is not subject to state law. However, at best this event ties up medical resources and sends a message that shelter-in-place orders can be flouted. At worst, participants and support staff could carry the virus back to their home communities and increase its spread.”

Feinstein cited the use of medical resources and the possible spread of the virus as reasons why the event should not take place. She also called the fights non-essential.

Here’s the thing: how does one reconcile such a statement with the state’s decision to allow construction to continue on SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., the future home of the Rams and Chargers? A construction worker tested positive for the virus in late March, and a second worker reportedly has tested positive, but construction continues.

The reason the construction continues? They want the stadium open in time for a Taylor Swift concert on July 25.

Please tell me, what makes a Taylor Swift concert any more essential than a UFC fight card? Moreover, the UFC planned to test everyone involved in the fight and do quarantines. Please tell me, how is allowing construction to continue where workers have tested positive for the virus not increasing the virus’ spread any more than the UFC following testing and quarantine protocols for its fights?

I don’t disagree that White was flouting the rule (and he was doing so because the UFC’s parent company, Endeavor led by Ari Emanuel, has serious debt issues). But I don’t understand what made the UFC’s plans so much more of a health threat than the ongoing construction of SoFi Stadium. There probably isn’t a good answer other than, “because we make the rules and we say so.”

If you look deeper into the picture, you might seem some sort of personal/political motivations for the shutdown. Endeavor’s Emanuel was Donald Trump’s agent. White has been close with Trump. And Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, is California governor Gavin Newsom’s ex-wife. Is it any wonder why Newsom reportedly called Disney and asked them to shut down the UFC event, which was set to air on Disney-owned ESPN? I don’t think so.

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