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33 minutes ago, Brandon said:

Anyone see Ngannou kill someone in the cage last night... yikes!     

Yup, and el cucuy got el kabonged didn't take it too well either, Cujudo said pay me more or I retire. I thought Cowboy did enough to win his fight, judges thought other wise

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3 hours ago, The Unknown Poster said:

Any media that signed that are absolutely idiotic. Supposed to be journalists 

100%.  The UFC has long tried to control their media coverage and this is another example of it.  Any outlet or journalist who refuses to sign would risk being barred from events and/or having their access to fighters restricted. 

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I dont usually post large clips from Dave Meltzer's newsletter as its a paid thing but this is really interesting.  If you like UFC/wrestling news, he's the best.

Quote

Under the microscope, to a degree, of being the first major sports franchise to reopen, UFC 249 was filled with behind-the-scenes stories far more important than the show itself.

The key is that the event had extensive COVID-19 testing, including three failures, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and two of his corner men. There were no failures related to the second show of the week four days later.

The UFC promised certain measures that would be taken that week, most of which were taken and some of which weren’t.

A key is that things have changed. When the NBA got its first positive, they shut down the league. When WWE got its first positive, it was kept hidden, and only announced due to a reporter getting a hold of an internal memo. At that point WWE did acknowledge it, although there was a major contradiction in what the memo told the talent and what WWE released to the press. It was regarding whether the person who tested positve was wrestlers and others working the show after the infection. The person made a full recovery and is back on the air and it’s almost like it never happened.

There is also a prominent person in wrestling who has had two family members, a wife and a son, test positive. That person, well known but not in WWE or AEW, nor an active wrestler right now, has noted this has been a very scary situation as both were very sick for a long time.

UFC had three positive tests and all three were people who were around the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Jacksonville for three days before the results came in and they were sent home. The hotel was the same hotel that most of the AEW talent crew were staying in for its tapings on 5/6 and 5/7.

Souza and his corner men arrived at the hotel on 5/6. At the time they, like everyone associated with the show, took both an antigen test and the swab test. All three came up negative on the antigen test. Everyone got their antigen test results the day they arrived. Nobody got their swab test results.

Souza, who lives in Orlando and drove with his corner men to Jacksonville as opposed to flying, did mention upon arrival that a family member had tested positive for COVID-19. He noted that he had no symptoms and felt fine.

UFC officials told Souza to take precautions and stay away form everyone. Still, there was a video that surfaced showing him socializing with fighters Fabricio Werdum, Charles Rosa and others. Dana White explained that away by saying the interaction was short.

On 5/8, Souza like all the fighters, was given a second swab test. He then went to weigh-ins for his match with Uriah Hall. He came with a mask and kept his distance from Hall, but did bump fists with White, who was not wearing a mask. Michelle Waterson and White hugged at the weigh-ins before Waterson did a stare-down with Carla Esparza.

Everyone involved with the show according to the UFC’s own regulations was required to wear a mask and gloves while doing their jobs. White never had a mask or gloves on.

Later that day, ESPN broke that Souza had tested positive and his fight with Hall was off. UFC then sent out a press release noting that not just Souza tested positive, but his corner men did as well.

Ariel Helwani on ESPN reported that it was the second tests that they took on Friday that were positive. If correct, that meant that all three men had passed two tests and had no symptoms while they had the disease and could spread it.

Many, including White, pointed to the positives as showing that the system worked. And in a sense it did, since the three were sent home and Souza didn’t fight on the show. And in a sense it didn’t because it showed the inaccuracy of the testing because all three passed at least one, if not two tests before they were flagged. And none had any symptoms. So the possibility of infecting people was there even with the testing. All three had they have been AEW talent, which took one test only, would have performed. If they had been WWE talent, they would not have been tested to begin with, and none showed a fever or symptoms, and in all cases could have infected a number of people.

It’s all a learning experience. After what happened with Souza, UFC sent a memo to all fighters on the second and third shows, to let the company know ahead of time if they have been in contact with anyone who tested positive and also to let them know ahead of time if they are showing any symptoms. Realistically, when UFC heard from Souza about a family member being infected, the learning experience is that they should now send that person home and reschedule the fight to be on the safe side. But if Souza passed both of his tests at first, it would make sense without this later knowledge why they wouldn’t.

White, and many other championed the fact that Souza didn’t fight and was sent home was proof that the system in place worked.

Dr. Zachary Binney, an Atlanta epidemiologist who has written extensively on procedures sports need to do to safely open up, did not share that opinion.

“The UFC and Dana White were negligent,” he wrote on Twitter. “Tried to restart early, the predictable thing happened and they mishandled it...If this was your system working as designed, your system is bogus.”

Binney said that when Souza told the UFC about his family member who had tested positive and they told Souza to isolate himself from everyone, that was good, but that Souza should not have stayed in Jacksonville. Then he asked why Souza was at the staredown two days later.

Binney said that hopefully everyone in the room at the staredown will quarantine for two weeks (obviously that didn’t happen since White has remained front and center since the show and will for at least another week). He said the system didn’t work because an infected fighter with a family case history was at weigh-ins and in the hotel for several days.

The inaccuracy of the testing gave a lot of people false senses of security, notably the announcers and Joe Rogan in particular, who threw a fit about not being able to go into the cage and interview fighters after the bouts. The idea was that he would stay in his position at ringside and the fighters would leave the cage and go to another place in the building which would be hooked up and the interview would be conducted that way. Rogan threw such a fit and had so much power that he got his way, with the idea that with everyone having tested negatively, there was in his mind no risk.

Daniel Cormier backed up that idea saying after the show about Rogan doing interviews in the cage and shaking fighters hands, also forbidden, that the rules in place were insane.

He told viewers, “You (Rogan) threw a fit before the show. This is insane. Everybody’s been tested. We’re all clean.”

Announcers Rogan, Cormier and Jon Anik opened the broadcast, not as close together, but maybe a foot apart or so, but then had to do the broadcast with all three seated in different places far apart. The broadcast went smoothly.

When they were all standing close together, Rogan said, “I don’t understand why we’re s far away from each other (during the fights), but we’re so close right now. None of this makes any sense.”

Another controversy was that UFC had a document everyone had to sign that attended the event, whether they were working as part of the event like production people, they were fighting, they were officials, or were reporters. It included a non-disparagement clause regarding the testing and overall procedures, as well as that UFC would not be liable for any medical bills if anyone got sick from attending the event. In addition, the fighters were threatened with losing their pay for the show, including any merchandise money from the event, if they were to suggest to communicate with anyone that the event was held without appropriate health, safety or other precautions. Media was also required to sign the paper, which everyone who attended did.

The waiver agreement was releasing UFC from any claims of negligence related to COVID-19 procedures and banned fighters signing it from cooperating with any investigations or claims brought up in the future over the event.

The waiver stated that the participant’s lodging, attendance, contact with, and consumption or use of food and beverages, participation and appearances at activities may lead to exposure to COVID-19. It noted that may result in severe and permanent health damage to the participant, including death, fever, weight loss, irreversible pulmonary, respiratory and/or neurological system damage, mental or emotional distress, temporary or permanent disability, loss of income, loss of employment, medical expenses that may not be covered by insurance, and that signing releases the UFC from prosecution by civil, criminal or other regulatory authorities.

“We anticipate that agreements of this nature will become standard during these unprecedented times,” said the UFC in a statement.

White said that paper wasn’t about banning people from giving an honest opinion about the measures taken, just for people who lied about facts like saying nobody was tested when everyone was. The UFC’s legal team assured the reporters that they would not be prohibited from any normal reporting on the event, even if the New York Times, having read the actual agreement said that there was no such wording in the agreement, saying, “nothing in the agreement obtained by the Times says that only untrue statements can be punished.”

Stephan Espinoza, the head of Showtime boxing, was the first to go public with the fact fighters were threatened with losing their pay if they went public and complained bout the procedures.

White then blamed Espinoza for the reaction.

“It’s called an anti-disparagement clause and if I know what that is, that scumbag (Espinoza) is a lawyer and you would think he should know what that is. If the fighter says something that isn’t true, if he says we didn’t test anyone for this, that would (be what would result in threatening to take the purses of the fighters). But if he said something that was true, his opinion, then that is different.”

The Mixed Martial Arts Journalists Association made a statement after the show that no reports should sign these agreements even if it means not being able to cover the events live.

“Some of the restrictive language in the UFC’s agreement could have a chilling effect on journalists, possibly limiting their ability to fully and accordingly report the facts,” said the statement.

It should be noted that the German Bundesliga (soccer) has returned even though an entire team has been forced to quarantine at home.

Because MMA and pro wrestling have no unions, the players are at the complete mercy of the owners, which is bad, and maybe worse because of who some of the owners are and the ones with the singular bubble mentality that all these restrictions are stupid and an inconvenience to them, as opposed to following what almost every other wrestling company, every other MMA company, and every other sport did in the same situation.

Boxing will return, but the belief is that the mega fights won’t happen because unlike with UFC, the promoters won’t want to sacrifice the live gates. UFC works with a huge profit margin while a big show boxing event sees the talent get the bulk of the revenue, not the promoter, and thus economically they can’t afford to sacrifice the live gate. The exception would be if Saudi Arabia buys a show, notably Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua, and thus the site fee would more than make up for the lack of a live gate. But that is also contingent upon Saudi Arabia opening up for sports events.

 

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