By: Hans Themistode
COVID-19, has forced the boxing world into a corner, and unlike most situations when it would simply fight back, this time around, it has no other choice but to continue to take it’s beating.
Much like the rest of the sports world, boxing has learned to take a backseat. The NBA, MLB, Tennis, Golf and various other sports have thrown up their white flags. COVID-19, is simply too much for any of them at the moment.
While other sports decided that it didn’t make sense fight a fight that it simply couldn’t win, the UFC, and most notably Dana White, decided that they had other plans. His huge UFC 249 event which was scheduled to take place on April 18th, was going to happen no matter what.
Screw the safety of the fighters and forget about the advice given by safety officials everywhere. There is money to be made and White was determined to get every single penny of it.
With no arena across the globe willing to play host to any of his events, White flexed his muscles and his wallet, and went ahead and secured an island to hold his fights.
Things were looking good. UFC 249 is roughly a week away and everything seemed to be going according to plan. That was the case until White received an expected call. There just aren’t many men that can make White back down, but this around, he had no other choice.
“Today we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney and the highest level of ESPN,” said White. “One thing that I’ve said since we’ve started our relationship and partnership with ESPN is that it’s been an incredible one. It’s been an amazing partnership.”
“ESPN has been very, very good to us. And the powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event next Saturday.”
This latest cancelation of White’s event, marks his fourth straight.
The sport of boxing has recently grown accustomed to the word canceled. Boxing events dating all the way through the end of the Summer have been canceled. Even the powerhouse global subscription streaming services of DAZN has recently announced that they are canceling all boxing events until at least July.
The UFC and Dana White now find themselves in the same boat as every other sport. Sitting on the sidelines with their hands crossed as they await health officials to tell them that it’s safe to play outside again.
“While the organization was fully prepared to proceed with UFC 249, ESPN has requested the postponement of the event and subsequent bouts until further notice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the promotion said in a prepared statement released after White’s announcement. “UFC looks forward to resuming the full live events schedule as soon as possible.”
The mundane lifestyle that COVID-19 is currently providing is something that we are all getting used to. Staring up at the ceiling lights or watching every single movie produced on Netflix has become the new norm.
Sports will eventually come back into the lives of everyone. The exact timetable is just unknown. But still, even with question marks at every single turn, White has promised his fans one thing.
“We will be the first sport back,” White said. “‘Fight Island’ is real. It’s a real thing. The infrastructure’s being built right now, and that’s really going to happen and it will be on ESPN.”