EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: CONTAINS PROFANITY IN FIRST SOUNDBITE
SHOWS: JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES (MAY 9, 2020) (UFC - Broadcasters and Digital: MUST COURTESY 'UFC'. NO RESALES)
1. UFC PRESIDENT DANA WHITE SPEAKING AT NEWS CONFERENCE AFTER UFC 249 EVENT AT VYSTAR VETERANS MEMORIAL ARENA
2. (SOUNDBITE)(English) UFC PRESIDENT DANA WHITE AFTER BEING ASKED ABOUT TESTING PROCEDURES AND RONALDO 'JACARE' SOUZA TESTING POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS, SAYING:
"Yeah we found out last night (Friday May 8)...you know this whole, the whole world is weird right now, everything's weird, this whole event's weird, you know, it's different, we live in a different world than we did two months ago and the bottom line is that the system worked. The system is that you want to find people that, you know, what you don't want to do is two days after the fight say, oh shit, Jacare (Ronaldo Souza) tested positive for, you know, so it worked, the system worked that we put in place. I mean most of you that are here have worked with us for a long time, you know how we are, without sounding like a, you know, a jackass, we're really good at what we do, we're very, very good at what we do, and the way that this week went will just get better, we'll get better by Wednesday, then we'll be better by Saturday, and then after Saturday we'll start to catch our stride and really get this thing dialed in and get it figured out and the longer this goes, the better the testing technology is gonna get and the faster it will get and, we're gonna prove by next Saturday that professional sports can come back safely."
3. WHITE FLASH
4. (SOUNDBITE)(English) UFC PRESIDENT DANA WHITE AFTER BEING ASKED IF SPORTS LEAGUES HAVE GOTTEN IN TOUCH ASKING ABOUT TESTING FOR CORONAVIRUS, SAYING:
"Yeah, no, sports leagues and, you know, states, asking us, you know a lot can be learned about what we're doing here, not just for professional sports but, you know, sending people back to work, lots of other things."
5. WHITE FLASH
6. (SOUNDBITE)(English) UFC PRESIDENT DANA WHITE AFTER BEING ASKED ABOUT JUSTIN GAETHJE FIGHTING KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV FOR LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE, SAYING:
"Well Khabib tweeted that he's ready to go this summer so we'll get back home next week and figure out, you know, what's next and get this fight together as soon as possible."
STORY: Justin Gaethje scored a surprise knockout victory over Tony Ferguson to win the interim lightweight title at UFC 249, which took place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday (May 9).
With over 80,000 deaths in the United States due to COVID-19, the UFC has come under fire for putting on the event, which took place with no fans in the stands and with stringent health and safety protocols in place.
Apart from the fighters, the referees and the commentators, event staff wore face masks and only one corner-man per fighter was allowed into the cage in the breaks between rounds.
UFC president Dana White said afterward that he considered the coronavirus protocols they used successful and they would prove that professional sports could come back safely.
A planned middleweight bout between Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Uriah Hall at UFC 249 was called off after Souza tested positive for COVID-19 following his arrival in Florida.
The mixed martial arts event is biggest pro sports event to take place in the U.S. in the two months since the pandemic started here and White said he was fielding calls from several leagues, and even some states, about their procedures.
(Production: David Grip)