The UFC held a fight night in Jacksonville Wednesday as CEO Dana White continues his efforts to get his sport off the mat in the face of the coronavirus shutdown. One of the most memorable and bloody exchanges of the evening happened outside the Octagon, however, as White laid into the New York Times and its reporter Kevin Draper, who penned a piece Tuesday which claimed the UFC had flouted its own Covid-19 health regulations during UFC 249, which happened Saturday evening.
White was generous with his scorn for Mr Draper:
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) May 14, 2020
To sum up, White commented:
F*ck that guy. F*ck that guy,” White said during the post-fight news conference, which MMA Junkie attended. “You know what happened with that guy? That guy who’s never covered the sport was writing a story about Endeavor (UFC’s parent company) and then the UFC was one of the Endeavor … you know. And what happened when this guy and this paper covered the UFC – when they’ve never covered it before? What do you think happened?
“This f*cking story was huge. They did killer traffic. Now they’re writing stories, three a week, and they’re posting live results. I don’t care what this guy thinks or what he has to say, what he writes. Good for him, he’s pulling traffic.”
In his article, Draper provides details of the UFC's thorough 'Jacksonville Event Operations Plan' and then detailed all of the ways that social distancing regulations were ignored by fighters on the night.
White, who frequently attacks the media, was angry with the article, but at no point denied its claims. White is the preferred sports administrator of the current US president, so its no surprise to see him taking a page from the Trump playbook to launch an attack on the New York Times.
“A lot of criticism coming into this week, the fact that we wanted to go, and this d*ck head from The New York Times that found out MMA was popular. We’ve had two events now, all the testing that we’ve done, (and) we’ve had one positive. And I don’t know, you guys sit in a different position than I. I don’t know how you feel how the whole thing has gone or how it’s felt, and if you’ve felt safe here, if you’ve felt comfortable, but it’s worked."
Another fight night is scheduled for Jacksonville tomorrow night.