Dana White sent the following email to all UFC staffers an hour or so ago.
I have annotated it with my own notes and thoughts.
This has been a crazy couple of weeks.
We’ve been doing everything possible to stick to our live events schedule because the fighters want to fight, our employees want to work, and the fans want to watch our sport.
The fighters I've spoken with don't want to fight for the sake of it They want to get paid. They have past due mortgages and cell phone bills. They drained their bank accounts to pay training partners and coaches. If they don't fight, the UFC certainly won't pay them what they might've earned if they won their fights. Hell, they might not even get their show money. So they fight. But if you gave them the option of staying home with their families and still getting paid? Most of them would take it. The employees do not want to work. What they want to do is go home and ensure their families are safe and healthy, just like everyone else. They're exhausted and worked to the bone. Constantly. As for the fans: I can't imagine many fans will be despondent because the UFC couldn't hack together a forgettable fight night card.
So many people have reached out over the past few days to say thanks for not canceling our Brasilia event on Saturday. When weird things happen in the world, or when there’s a tragedy, like the October 1 shooting, people want things to get back to normal, and nothing feels more normal than watching sports.
We did everything we could to relocate our next three events– London, Columbus, and Portland. But every day, there are new restrictions put in place on travel and large public gatherings that are making it impossible to stay on schedule. We can’t even hold an event in Vegas, our home town, because there’s a ban on all combat sports events in Nevada until at least March 25.
As you heard me say, I’ve been in the fight game for 20 years, and this is what we do—we find a way to keep our events going no matter what. If fighters miss weight, if fighters get hurt, or if states won’t regulate us, we figure out a way. But this is different. The whole world is being affected right now, and nothing is more important than the health and safety of you and your families.
This should have been the lead sentence.
That’s why we are closing all UFC offices effective immediately, including HQ in Vegas, through at least March 31st, and asking all employees to work from home. The PI will also be closed to all personnel, including athletes, during this time. The next three events– London, Columbus, and Portland—will be postponed. UFC 249 is still scheduled as planned, but the location may change. We’ll keep you posted.
The president of the United States went on television today and said that if we do everything right in fighting this pandemic, we might be able to get back to normal by July or August. Might. Point is, there aren't going to be any UFC events for awhile.
I tell you guys all the time, you are the BEST TO EVER DO IT. It feels shitty now, but WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS, and we’ll be TOUGHER, STRONGER, AND MORE BADASS than before.
Right now, the number one priority is to take care of yourselves and your family.
By "right now," he of course means "now that we have no other option but to shut down operations and send you home."
Finally, I want you to know that UFC has your back. If you or any member of your family is showing symptoms of coronavirus and you’re having trouble getting to a doctor, please reach out to me, Lawrence, or Hunter.
I have to give the UFC--and Dana in particular--props here, because this isn't just fluff to make his employees feel good. He means it, and he has a long history of paying medical expenses for people inside and outside the company.