Boxing legend Bob Arum has taken a shot at bellicose UFC president Dana White over his continued insistence that he will host fights in the midst of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The legendary promoter said White had ‘flawed intelligence’ in continuing to plug the UFC, with plans still in place for UFC 249 to go ahead - despite the headline fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson not going ahead, due to the former being stuck behind closed borders in Russia.
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Arum called for White to end his ‘grandstanding’ in an appearance on CBS Sports’ ‘State of Combat’ podcast.
“He (White) ought to be ashamed of himself,” Arum said of the UFC president.
“What’s going on in this country and the world with this virus, the last thing we need is for an event to take place with no spectators just to get the event to take place. “
But the truth is Dana White is somebody with a flawed intelligence.
“He’s not going to move forward with the card, and if the card happens with people dying in hospitals all over the United States, he ought to be ashamed of himself.
“The message should be stay home and stand down until this is over. Let’s not spread the virus, let’s control the virus and do what we can to staff these hospitals and take care of people who go into intensive care.
“Let’s all be big people and big boys about it and stop the grandstanding.
“This will end when it ends, and it will end quicker if we all stick together and do what we are supposed to do, not go and shout from the rafters that, ‘I’m not a p—y and I’m going to put this fight on. I don’t care.’
“That is absolutely the wrong message to send.”
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Arum said the boxing world would simply have to wait out the coronavirus crisis in the same way most other sports around the world were being forced to.
The 88-year-old, who founded Top Rank in 1973, said nobody would start making plans until it was almost certain the crisis had passed.
“People ask me what plans I’m making for these fights, when we will get the all clear,” Arum said.
“Because I don’t know when the all clear is going to be and I have no idea whether it will be two months, three months or even the rest of the year, I’m not making any plans right now.
“When this thing looks like it’s clearing up, we will start making plans.”