‘I have little respect for what Dana White is doing’: Bob Arum slams UFC president ahead of UFC 249 as veteran promotor hits out at rival’s ‘cowboy behaviour’ during coronavirus crisis
- Bob Arum has hit out at Dana White for pushing on with the return of the UFC
- UFC president White has looked to ensure the UFC is the first sport back on TV
- On May 9, UFC 249 will go ahead in Jacksonville, despite the coronavirus
- Arum slammed White’s ‘cowboy behaviour’ and said he has no respect for him
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
White has yielded plenty of criticism for his promotion’s handling of the crisis, with the 50-year-old fighting tooth and nail to save UFC 249, which was set to be headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson in Brooklyn on April 18.
The Barclays Center pulled out of hosting duties to the high number of deaths in New York City and while most sports were grinding to a halt, White persisted in his bid to see the two rivals square off on the original date.
Bob Arum has hit out at Dana White over his ruthless bid to ensure UFC is back on television
The UFC chief has yielded criticism for his handling of the coronavirus crisis since its outbreak
Nurmagomedov was later forced to pull out of the contest having returned home to Russia and unable to re-enter the United States due to strict border control, but White roped in lightweight contender Justin Gaethje to step in to face Ferguson.
The UFC chief had found a mysterious location – ‘Fight Island’ – to host the event and in so doing circumvent the strict movement provisions, before executives from ESPN and Disney stepped in and told him to call off the event.
White then insisted the UFC would be ‘the first sport back on television’ and has scheduled UFC 249 to take place on May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida. The card will see Ferguson face Gaethje for the interim lightweight title, while Henry Cejudo and Dominic Cruz will fight for the bantamweight belt.
The UFC will stage UFC 249 on May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida, despite strong criticism
And veteran boxing promotor Arum, 88, has slammed White for his ‘cowboy behaviour’.
‘Good luck to them,’ he told BoxingScene.com. ‘I just hope that they’re not endangering the safety of anyone. But this kind of cowboy behaviour doesn’t do anybody any good.’
Arum revealed that he was looking to stage events in the second half of June at the earliest, and pointed to the behaviour of other sports chiefs before hitting out at the UFC president.
‘We’re only gonna do this if it’s safe for the fighters and everyone involved, and if it’s approved by the medical authorities,’ he said. ‘We’re not gonna be cowboys, like Dana White. I don’t wanna get politics involved, but I have really very little respect for Dana and what he’s doing.
Arum said he ‘has no respect for White’ and slammed his ‘cowboy behaviour’ during the crisis
‘I think the behaviour of people in sports we should be following are Adam Silver of the NBA, Roger Goodell of the NFL, people who are proceeding cautiously and safely, not people who are acting like cowboys.’
Arum singled out Lyman Good in his next attack on White. The welterweight was scheduled to fight on April 18 and had tested positive for coronavirus shortly after the event’s cancellation.
‘It turned out one of the fighters, in fact, tested positive afterwards for coronavirus,’ Arum added. ‘You know, if we get something like that on one of Dana’s shows, and God forbid there’s a serious incident of spreading the disease, it doesn’t do well for anybody who’s involved with sports.’
At the time of writing, 67,488 people have died from coronavirus in the United States with 1,160,838 people testing positive.