UFC 249 will be a guilty pleasure I will feel dirty enjoying. On one hand, there is a global pandemic that has shut down everything non-essential to make a basic society function. On the other hand, there is an opportunity for the sporting world to fire up the engine and give us some water during an unprecedented drought. Will I watch these fights? Yes. Do I want to see Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje for an interim belt? Well, hell yeah. How costly could this scrambled UFC event be?
An empty crowd in Brazil on Feb 27 fans saw their last UFC fight. None of the fighters or staff at that event were tested for COVID-19. However, they plan to change that for events moving forward. COVID-19 has left us parched for action. The global pandemic is overlooked by a lot of these fans that are thirsty for more.
I can’t in good conscience say UFC 249 is a safe idea but I was willing to play ignorant if we were going to get what everyone wanted. Tony vs Khabib has been re-booked four times and is unquestionably the most important fight in lightweight history. We aren’t getting that fight and I’ve been wondering, why is the UFC is so anxious to hold an event right now?
A company called Endeavor purchased the UFC in 2016 for 4 billion dollars. The new ESPN deal UFC struck last year guarantees the promotion a flat amount of money per PPV event with Endeavor getting a share of the profits. It is rumored that in order for the UFC to get paid by ESPN, the organization has to put on a certain number of fights this year. It is also rumored that they have negotiated a different deal since the outbreak of the virus.
Dana White has stated that 2019 was the best year on record. but was it for their parent company? It’s commonly theorized that the Fertita brothers sold the UFC at the right time, as Brock and Ronda were still fighting. As soon as they left the sport, the UFC took a dive. To add to the rumble, Conor and Jon Jones had their own troubles and the company was lacking star power.
How much did Endeavor lose during that time? How much will they lose if there are no events held during the lockdown? Is the UFC doing Endeavor a solid by clamoring to get these events going? If that is the motivating factor, this event feels even grimier. If the UFC does everything in its power to make sure this event is safe for everyone, it still doesn’t discount the fact that they scrambled to make this interim title. That may make the prospects of Tony vs Khabib, a much more important fight, dead in the water.
The UFC is not doing the right thing for the fans and the lightweight division. However, personally, I’m a little keener to this event than the UFC 249 they tried to do on April 18. There will be no fans to give that extra spark only a live audience can deliver. Khabib waiting in the wings at home, safe with his family.
It’s safe to say that I don’t like this idea. We don’t need fights that badly. I’d rather wait for this to blow over and get what we have waited five years for. If the fight does go down, I will get those small shots of adrenaline every big fight gives me. I will enjoy the chaos for as long as it lasts. All these other factors will remain in the back of my mind, with a stained feeling of unease.
I hope UFC 249 is postponed and we get our original much sought-after bout. But sometimes, at the end of the night, you have to take what’s left at the bar, even if it seems a little dirty.
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UFC 249 Feels Dirty UFC 249 Feels Dirty