As Dana White insists on hosting UFC events amid a global pandemic, the sport’s biggest star is taking a notably different tack.
Conor McGregor is calling for Ireland’s military to enforce the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced a sweeping two-week nationwide lockdown on Friday, shuttering non-essential businesses and ordering residents to stay at home except for grocery errands and brief outdoor exercise trips. Public and private gatherings are banned with few exceptions.
McGregor’s Facebook plea
McGregor released a nearly five-minute Facebook video on Saturday in support of the lockdown and calling for residents to adhere to it. Those who don’t should face consequences via the Irish military, McGregor said.
“Now more than ever, we must abide by this, and I pray for the health of the country that we do,” McGregor said. “The fate of our lives and the lives of our loved ones depends on it.”
McGregor encouraged residents to maintain proper nutrition and physical activity with home-based workouts amid the pandemic and called for airports to shut down except for essential medical transportation.
He also called for 24-hour military patrol.
Military force ‘is necessary’
“Tonight our defense forces have been mentioned as a possibility in assisting with our 15,000 [police] available. But only if necessary. However, it is necessary.
“I urge the government to utilize the defense forces alongside the [police] and for full 24-hour patrol. We cannot go by chance here. Any less than full adherence to these newly put-forth methods by any members of our society will not only be a mockery to what we are attempting to do here. It will put the rest of our great nation in danger.”
On Wednesday, McGregor pledged to donate €1 million worth of supplies to local hospitals.
Different approach from Dana White
McGregor’s attitude toward social responsibility during the pandemic stands in stark contrast to White, who carried on with UFC Brasilia on March 14 after most of the rest of the sports world shut down.
Now, he’s adamant that UFC 249 featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will go on as scheduled on April 18, though he’s not stating where he intends to hold the event initially scheduled for Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center.
Local regulators have already told UFC that it won’t take place in New York.
“Listen,” White told Yahoo Sports this week, “there’s people I care about what they think of me — my employees, my family, my friends. The rest of the people I don’t give a [expletive] what you think of me. ...
“One thing I do know is I'm not wrong. I know I'm right. I know it's the right thing to do.”
Joe Rogan, the voice of UFC pay-per-view fights said on his podcast recently that if UFC 249 takes place, he won’t be there.
“The UFC is talking about putting on a fight on April 18,” Rogan said, per Sherdog. “I don’t know how they’re gonna do that. I don’t know if they’re gonna be able to do it in the United States. They’re talking about doing it in a place with less than 10 people. Just an open arena.
“I guess someone’s going to commentate it. It’s not gonna be me.”
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