Boxing promoter Bob Arum reportedly questioned the UFC’s decision to schedule three cards this month in Jacksonville, Florida, given the shutdown of sports nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic.
UFC 249 is scheduled for Saturday, with an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje the headline bout. The other cards are May 13 and 16.
Fans will not be allowed to attend any of the three events.
Arum, who runs Top Rank, said his organization would be more cautious than UFC president Dana White in determining when to return.
“We’re only going to do this if it’s safe for the fighters and everyone involved, and if it’s approved by the medical authorities,” Arum told the website. “We’re not going to be cowboys, like Dana White. I don’t want to get politics involved, but I have really very little respect for Dana and what he’s doing.”
Arum said he was concerned any positive tests for COVID-19 at the UFC events could set back other sports’ efforts to return.
White had aggressively searched for a site that would sanction UFC fights and has stated he wanted to be the first major sport to return to action.
“I can’t wait to deliver some great fights for the fans,” White said April 24. “My team is ready to go, and the fighters are excited to get back in there.”