Arum: Dana White’s “cowboy behavior” does no good for anyone

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Bob Arum hopes that everyone who participates in the three UFC cards scheduled for next month in Jacksonville, Florida will leave these events as healthy as they arrived.

The outspoken promoter simply wants Dana White to be more careful and patient during this devastating pandemic. Arum was very critical of White when the president of the UFC tried to bring the UFC 249 to the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, California near Fresno on April 18.

Political pressure led ESPN leaders to ask White to postpone UFC 249, a pay-per-view program that ESPN is responsible for distributing. UFC 249 has since been postponed until May 9.

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Arum, 88, said White hastily made another mistake by agreeing to host UFC 249 and two other shows on May 13 and 16 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville. Each of these three UFC Jacksonville events will take place in the absence of fans.

“Good luck to them,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “I just hope they don’t endanger anyone’s safety. But this kind of cowboy behavior is useless. “

Arum plans to introduce fanless boxing cards in theaters, but not until the second half of June at the earliest.

“We are now looking at Nevada, which we will do sensibly, or with California,” said Arum. “We work with [Nevada’s] Bob Bennett and [California’s] Andy Foster, and we’re talking to the Texas commission. We will only do this if it is safe for the combatants and all those involved, and if approved by the medical authorities. We will not be cowboys like Dana White. I don’t want to involve politics, but I really have very little respect for Dana and what he does. “

While White has been praised by some for aggressively trying to take over the business, Arum thinks boxing should be inspired by leaders in other sports.

“I think the behavior of people in the sport that we should follow,” said Arum, “are Adam Silver of the NBA, Roger Goodell of the NFL, people who act safely and securely, not people who act like cowboys. For example, [the UFC] wanted to do this fight in California and they were prevented by the governor [Gavin Newsom]and by the senator [Dianne] Feinstein goes to ESPN and has Dana shot [the plug].

“It turned out that one of the fighters, in fact, later tested positive for the coronavirus. You know, if we get something like this on one of Dana’s shows, and God forbid there is a serious incident of the spread of the disease, it’s not suitable for anyone involved in the sport. “

Arum made reference to UFC welterweight Lyman Good who revealed last week in an interview with ESPN.com that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Good was scheduled to face Belal Muhammad at UFC 249 when it was scheduled to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The New York Good originally cited an injury on April 4 as a reason for withdrawing from combat, but later admitted that it had withdrawn from combat because it was positive for COVID-19 .

Meanwhile, Arum and other high-ranking executives investigated the staging of shows in Florida. Arum does not think, however, that this is where Las Vegas-based Top Rank will perform its first show in the studio or in an almost empty arena.

“Right now we’re focusing on California and Nevada, a little bit in Texas,” said Arum. “We can very well go to Florida. But that would make it much easier for us to open up to Nevada and California, depending on the location of the business. “

Keith Idec is a senior writer / columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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