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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Articles tagged: Dana White

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.

Disney, ESPN told Dana White to shut down UFC 249, future fights

Dana White

Dana White tried his best to keep the UFC train going, but his plans have been put on hold.

UFC 249 will not take place on April 18 as White was planning, the UFC boss said on Thursday.

The UFC was one of the last pro sports leagues to actually cancel events, waiting well until all other major pro sports had done so before cancelling its last three events. They were planning to go forward with UFC 249 despite the COVID-19 related shutdown rules around the country.

White arranged to have UFC 249 take place at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, Calif., which is on tribal land, as an effort to avoid the California shelter-in-place mandates. Two days after the New York Times reported about the fight location plans, California senator Dianne Feinstein released a statement saying she was “concerned” about the event.

“I’m concerned by reports that Ultimate Fighting Championship plans to hold a pay-per-view event in California, in defiance of the state’s shelter-in-place order,” Feinstein said in her statement. “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.”

White says he got a call from Disney, which owns ESPN, telling him to not go forward with the event and try to circumvent the government rules.

“Today, we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney, and the highest level at ESPN … and the powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event on Saturday,” White told ESPN.

White likely had been so adamant about carrying forward with the planned fight schedule due to financial pressure from his parent company. WME/IMG bought the UFC for $4 billion and is heavily in debt. They need revenue/cash flow to pay their loans or risk running into issues with their creditors. The UFC must put on 42 shows a year for ESPN in order to collect its annual payment of over $600 million, so their parent company is concerned about losing that much-needed money.

Could California squash UFC’s plans to host UFC 249 on tribal land at Tachi Palace?

Dana White

Dana White has insisted at every turn that UFC 249 scheduled for April 18 would not be canceled. He and the UFC reportedly are looking to a possible legal loophole in order to conduct the fight, but there may be a problem.

Jeff Sherwood, the founder of MMA publication Sherdog, reported on Monday that the UFC was planning to host its next four scheduled events at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, Calif.

The New York Times confirmed that report on Tuesday.

Tachi Palace is a casino located near Fresno, Calif. in the central valley area of the state (the casino has been closed since March 20). It is located on land belonging to the Tachi-Yokut Tribe, part of the federally recognized Santa Rosa Indian Community.

Tachi Palace hosts boxing and MMA fights regularly (LBS has even covered boxing fights there in the past). Because it is located on sovereign land, fights hosted there do not necessarily need to be subjected to sanctioning by the state’s athletic commission.

White previously said he had an undisclosed venue in place to host two months of UFC events. He was then planning to host events at a private island.

But there could be a problem for White with this sovereign-land loophole.

Public Law 280 is a federal law establishing “a method whereby States may assume jurisdiction over reservation Indians.” California is one of six states that has federal law enforcement authority within tribal nations. That means California’s government could theoretically attempt to use this law to shut down the UFC’s attempt to stage the fights.

Would this actually happen? It’s hard to say, but it’s obvious that the intent of the UFC is to avoid current state rules in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was originally scheduled to take place in Brooklyn, New York, but the government is not allowing non-essential businesses to operate, which means the UFC fights wouldn’t be allowed to take place there currently.

Twitter reacts to Dana White’s private UFC island with funny memes

UFC

Dana White drew attention online after telling TMZ Sports that he was in the process of securing a private island for UFC fights to take place. Naturally, his proclamation led to many jokes online about what that island would look like. The jokes ranged from “Enter the Dragon” to “Austin Powers” references.

Here are a few examples of the Twitter memes:

Of course, there were also plenty of Fyre Fest jokes. The UFC is much more professional than Billy McFarland though, so you shouldn’t worry too much about that kind of situation breaking out.

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  • MMA

Dana White responds to fake Twitter account, says Khabib is out of UFC 249

Dana White

Dana White shared some noteworthy news on Saturday night while responding to a fake tweet.

An impostor on Twitter who was posing as ESPN MMA reporter Ariel Helwani said that White and Vladimir Putin reached a deal for Khabib Nurmagomedov to travel to the United States to fight Tony Ferguson in their anticipated UFC 249 fight.

Again, the report was completely inaccurate and was just something an impostor account made up to try and fool people. Still, White responded to the tweet like it came from a real account. In the process, he shared some news, and that is that Khabib will not be involved in the fight card. He also said he would be revealing the full fight card on Monday.

Khabib has made it seem like he would not be fighting Ferguson as planned. He left San Jose where he trains for his home in Russia and encouraged people to follow social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. The current belief is that Ferguson will face Justin Gaethje in the main event.

The UFC has canceled its last three events due to the coronavirus, but they have been trying hard to make sure UFC 249 goes through. The event was initially scheduled to take place in Brooklyn but will now take place in a location that has not yet been revealed.

The UFC was bought by WME/IMG in 2016 for $4 billion. Their parent company is in serious debt, which has put additional pressure on the UFC to put on shows during this time to bring in revenue.

Dana White now thinks Nate Diaz stoppage was good call

Dana White

Many fight fans were ticked off that the Nate Diaz-Jorge Masvidal main event at UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday night was stopped after the third round due to a doctor’s decision. Many, including Diaz, believed the fighter could continue, but the cageside doctor decided otherwise.

UFC boss Dana White said on ESPN after the fight that while he originally was upset with the stoppage, he later changed his mind after seeing what Diaz looked like in the locker room.

“Cuts that big are always a problem. When it first got stopped, I was like ‘you guys didn’t stop the Tyson Fury fight.’ But then as I went back and talked with Nate Diaz and looked at Nate Diaz’s face, the guy’s eyebrow was like this (White motions his finger in front of his eyeball), and he had another cut right underneath it. Fight probably should have been stopped. Could Nate Diaz keep going? Yes, that’s why we love Nate Diaz. But it probably should have been (stopped),” White said.

The reaction from fans generally is heated at first — for understandable reasons. They wanted to see a full fight and felt they got robbed. But when you consider that they’re protecting the fighter, the responsible call was made. Plus, both Masvidal and Diaz seem like they want a rematch anyway, where hopefully there won’t be a stoppage.

Dana White: Conor McGregor will not be given ownership in UFC

Dana White

If Conor McGregor’s retirement tweet was intended to be a leverage ploy for an ownership stake in the UFC, it’s not going to work, according to Dana White.

White told TMZ on Tuesday that McGregor will have to buy an ownership share in the company like anyone else, if that’s what he wants.

“Listen, if you want to own a piece of the company, you have to put up the money to buy a piece of the company,” White told TMZ. “That’s how it works.”

McGregor signed an 8-fight deal with the UFC last year. He recently said he was aiming to fight in July, but then two issues apparently came up. One, McGregor reportedly objected to being part of a co-main event rather than headlining the main event solo. Two, he is now seeking an ownership share.

Then on Monday night McGregor turned up the heat by tweeting his retirement — a claim many did not take seriously.

McGregor last fought in October when he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. He has been a part of five of the company’s six most purchased pay-per-view fights in history.