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'All kinds of potential disaster' | Chuck Mindenhall talks UFC 249 return

UFC 249 took place behind-closed-doors at the weekend, and although the event took place with suc...

'All kinds of potential disast...
Other Sports

'All kinds of potential disaster' | Chuck Mindenhall talks UFC 249 return

UFC 249 took place behind-closed-doors at the weekend, and although the event took place with success, a disregard of social distancing measures has left some feeling uneasy.

UFC President Dana White decided to go ahead with the event as planned, receiving praise from President Trump in doing so. But seeing White fist-bumping fighters at the weigh-ins sounded some alarm bells amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chuck Mindenhall from The Athletic joined Eoin Sheahan and Joseph Conroy on OTB AM to discuss the handling of the event, and he said he thought the three positive tests in the build-up, including for fighter Jacaré Souza, may have stopped the fights from happening.

"My initial thoughts, and the UFC is dealing with it in trial and error, you hear something like this and you think it's the ultimate backfire.

"You go down the channels of what you've been hearing which is how much exposure was there between Jacaré [Ronaldo Souza] and everybody else? Between his cornermen and everybody else?

"If anything it kind of maybe showed people from the rest of the sports world, 'Hey, you can have a positive result and still keep rolling if you just handle it correctly.'

"UFC I don't think handled everything perfectly correctly, but they showed that it can be done, and I think they'll learn from that situation too - at least we'd hope they'd learn from a situation like that."

Mindenhall also told us he was bemused by Joe Rogan's brazen flaunting of the social distancing guidelines during his post-fight rin interviews.

"Even during the fights, Joe Rogan shaking hands with everyone? The whole thing was kind of surreal in that way. I feel like the UFC is learning on the fly on how to deal with this.

"There's a part of you in an adventurous spirit way saying 'Good for them for trying to go out there, they're going to be scrutinised for it'. We'll see how they respond.

"Obviously they're running three events this week and it's got all kinds of potential for disaster through this whole thing, in one arena and everything.

"We'll see how it all goes, maybe this will be the thing you'll look at in a couple of weeks and try to figure out at that point, 'How did it really come off?'

"But as of right now I feel like they've been handling themselves decently for [being] the first sports party to go forward like this."

Chuck also said he agreed that elements of the UFC's handling of the weekend's event leave a strange taste.

"You could go through the psychology of the reasons for this but I mean... this is a collective decree globally [social distancing], you have to adhere to it. For anybody to mock it or make people feel like they're not scared by it, it seems unnecessary.

"I saw Joe Rogan doing it, and not just Joe - you're seeing other examples of it. The biggest issue is to keep the fighters safe, and I just don't think you need to fly in the face of all that fear and possibility when you don't have to."

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Dana White Eoin Sheahan Jacaré Souza Joe Rogan Joseph Conroy MIXED MARTIAL ARTS Mma Ufc Ufc 249