Boxing's Bob Arum Blasts Dana White, UFC for 'Cowboy Behavior' amid COVID-19

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2020

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 11:  Top Rank Founder and CEO Bob Arum speaks at a WWE news conference at T-Mobile Arena on October 11, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was announced that WWE wrestler Braun Strowman will face heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury and WWE champion Brock Lesnar will take on former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez at the WWE's Crown Jewel event at Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 31.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Boxing promoter Bob Arum spoke candidly about UFC's return this coming Saturday amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Good luck to them," Arum said in an interview with BoxingScene.com's Keith Idec. "I just hope that they’re not endangering the safety of anyone. But this kind of cowboy behavior doesn’t do anybody any good."

Arum also told Idec he doesn't plan to stage any boxing events until at least the second half of June:

"We're looking now with Nevada, which we'll do in a sensible way, or California. We're working with [Nevada's] Bob Bennett and [California's] Andy Foster, and we're talking to the Texas commission. We're only gonna do this if it's safe for the fighters and everyone involved, and if it's approved by the medical authorities. We're not gonna be cowboys, like Dana White. I don't wanna get politics involved, but I have really very little respect for Dana and what he's doing."

Action inside the Octagon has been on hold since UFC Fight Night 170, which took place March 14 inside an empty arena in Brasilia, Brazil.

The promotion had to move UFC 249 twice, first when the New York State Athletic Commission declined to sanction the event and then again when officials from the state of California, Disney and ESPN all intervened.

The event is back on after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed for sporting events to return to the state under specified conditions. In addition to UFC 249, VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville will host two more Fight Night cards on May 13 and 16.

While also told ESPN's Brett Okamoto he's still planning to stage events on "Fight Island" in the future.

UFC issued a statement April 24 regarding its return in the present climate:

"Pursuant to a request from the Florida State Boxing Commission, these events will be closed to the public and will be produced with only essential personnel in attendance.  All athletes and staff will be required to adhere to a number of precautionary measures, such as participating in advanced medical screenings and temperature checks and following social distancing guidelines."

UFC might be back, but it remains without its full stable of fighters.

Most notably, Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled out of the UFC 249 main event with Tony Ferguson because he was unable to travel to the United States. Amanda Nunes also cited an inability to train properly as the reason behind her decision to remove herself from any May 9 event.