On Saturday UFC 249 will be the first major sports event in weeks due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. There is a degree of controversy in holding the show, but it is fully regulated, with stringent safety measures in place. And the headliners see it as an opportunity to inspire.
“I honestly had no reservations. Fighting is very dangerous, so I think we’ll be just fine. ... We’ve got to go out there and keep sports alive."
“We’re going to bring a sense of normalcy to people. I’m proud to be a part of it. It’s the opportunity to inspire. People need to be inspired right now. They need to not let themselves become depressed, emotional because they can’t control what’s going on right now. We’ve got to ride it through. They need to be inspired, and we can do that.”
“There’s not very often you’re going to get to fight for a world title, much less during a pandemic when there’s zero sports going on and you’re going to be the only one on TV. You have to face your fears. You’ve got to go out there and take the chances when they’re presented. ... We get to put paychecks in our own pocket, and we get to put a paycheck in every UFC employee’s pocket that’s going to work this event, and we get to inspire people to not give up right now.”
“Realistically, anybody can contract this virus. I think that’s partially the point, is understanding that anybody out there can get this, but you can’t just freeze up when you see something that’s scary. You’ve got to take the precautions, be as safe as possible, but live your life. That’s what I’m doing.”
“What’s the value of championship belts or Olympic gold medals when there’s 33 million Americans that just filed for unemployment benefits, that can’t see their families since mid-March? There’s no vaccine for COVID-19 coming, probably no end in sight. So I’ve been [contemplating] the question of what’s the value of belts or even Olympic gold medals unless you use it to make a difference in the lives and the service of humanity?"
“You'd better sign up for those unemployment checks, because I'm taking you out. Dominick, you sound like Miss Universe.”
“I really don’t know the difference between the COVID-19 quarantine and me in my training camp. I’m a professional. I train each and every day. I try to do everything right. This whole quarantine, I think by the time the U.S. comes back together, I’m just not going to know the difference.”