In the climate of the world today as we are all dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic we are making adjustments on the fly as to how to maintain some sense of normalcy in a situation that is far from normal, and nobody could have actually expected, or planned for. No more fun at the beach, the gym or the pool. Sports are not existent, and we cannot spend time with our friends or families as we would like to because it just isn’t safe today.
The UFC and their President Dana White have made it quite clear that the show will go on. They have done one show in Brazil with no fans in attendance, and then canceled or postponed the next three events that were on their calendar, yet promised a big return with UFC 249 scheduled for April 18th, destination unknown at this time.
White has been under much scrutiny from much of the MMA media, and some fans for even attempting to host an event during this world-wide emergency yet is undeterred and more relentless in his quest to put on a show. However, he has had no problem finding fighters to fill this, or any other card that he has in the works. The fighters want to fight, the promotion wants to host an event, and if we are being honest, we all will watch even those that are against doing it will still tune in on fight night!
With public safety, an issue, and our desire for sports to return, I might just have a solution that could work for everyone!
A normal PPV event consists of 12 to 13 bouts, however, only 5 are part of the PPV portion of the event. In other words, we always pay to see five fights. With that knowledge in mind I said to myself instead of putting together a full card, the UFC could instead hold an event every weekend during this crisis and each event would have 5 fights. With 5 fights it cuts down the number of persons inside the closed venue. 10 fighters instead of 24-26. Each athlete can have 2 corners, but only one can be near the octagon. Commission and production personnel at the bare minimum needed to again, lessen the person to person interaction.
The promotion could also set up a hazmat type cleanroom at the entrance of the venue. We have seen these types of pop-up safety measures taken when there is a toxic spill or chemical leak and people have been exposed or possibly exposed. The cleanroom can be the staging area where the people entering the venue can go through a health screening and decontamination process before entering and upon leaving the venue, a small price to pay in my opinion to provide every possible safety-measure possible for the athletes and other essential personnel required to be in the building.
They could even go as far as to have commentators off-site and viewing via a direct stream to lessen the number of people in the building which would be in accordance with social-distancing guidelines that we are all following.
Doing a 5 fight card every weekend would also allow the promotion to get fighters back to work, which the majority are chomping at the bit to do. If this plan were to be implemented until we go back to normal, let’s say in August, between now and then the promotion could host 17 events all from the same location, ( with no fans it just makes sense to not move every weekend if a safe and clean building is already in play. Also, not every card would be a PPV, maybe the UFC would lower the price of the ones that would be PPV cards since many are not working right now ) and that would give 170 fighters the opportunity to work. In that same time span in a normal world, we would see 7 or 8 events where 192 fighters would compete, so we would see nearly the same amount of fights, but in a much safer way that fits today’s climate.
A fight event every weekend would also fill a huge void in the world of sports that many of us miss and have always had to escape the real world, even it was just for a mere moment, it was there when we needed it to be. With UFC events in this abbreviated format that I’ve written about it could really provide that much-needed break from reality that so many are looking for, and wouldn’t that, along with these fighters getting to work be a good thing at the end of the day?
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.