If the Ultimate Fighting Championship is able to move forward with UFC 249, there’s at least one familiar face that won’t be present during the pay-per-view card.
Joe Rogan discussed the promotion’s plans to hold UFC 249 on April 18 during a recent episode of "The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, and it doesn’t sound as though the veteran commentator is interesting in being a part of the pay-per-view event in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The UFC is talking about putting on a fight on April 18. 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,” he said.
“I guess someone’s going to commentate it – it’s not gonna be me.”
Rogan is a staple of UFC pay-per-view events and has worked for the Las Vegas-based organization as a color commentator since 2002. Like most people, he is skeptical that the UFC can have enough safety measures in place to hold a card during the ongoing threat of the coronavirus.
“The thing is, how are they going to make sure nobody has it?” Rogan said. “You’re going to have to test everybody. And if someone has it, do you let them fight? What if they have it, and they’re like [actor] Idris Elba, and they have no symptoms, but they’ve got the corona? What if Khabib has the corona? Or what if Tony has the corona? Does Khabib even fight him?”
As of now, the promotion does not currently have a location for UFC 249, which is headlined by a lightweight championship clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. UFC president Dana White has said that he has a venue “99.9 percent confirmed” but has not officially revealed it to the public. The card was originally slated for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but that was scrapped as New York developed into the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States.
Rogan says they don’t need to have a large arena for a closed-door event.
“The could do it in a film studio. Tyler Perry’s got a place in Florida. When we did Fight for the Troops… They just would use an airplane hangar,” he said. “The whole audience was the troops in their uniforms. They would set up this Octagon in an airplane hangar. It was pretty powerful. Different kind of show. But they could do that in a studio or just a large warehouse. The UFC could do it, set up some lights, have some crazy high speed hook up to the Internet. The UFC has the capability of doing that.”
While he doesn’t plan on working UFC 249, Rogan understands why White is so adamant about the efforts to proceed. Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson has already been canceled on four different occasions. A global pandemic is now threatening to make it five.
“This fight is so cursed,” Rogan said. “This is how Dana feels. This is why Dana’s trying so hard to make it happen, even if there’s only 10 people in the room.”
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