Fighters face financial penalties for criticizing UFC’s COVID-19 safety protocols

By Vincent Frank
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY NETWORK

UFC 249 is going on Saturday night in Tampa Bay. It’s a way for the sports world to return to some sense of normalcy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Though, things are looking a bit different outside of the Octagon with no fans in attendance. The event is also still taking place despite a fighter testing positive for the virus Friday night.

Now comes this note from Stephen Espinoza, president of Showtime Sports, suggesting that fighters will face a financial penalty, including the loss of a purse, if they publicly criticize UFC’s safety measures relating to COVID-19.

This isn’t something solely limited to the UFC and Dana White. In fact, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell threatened the same financial penalties if those associated with the league criticized its plans amid the current pandemic.

Though, this just goes to show us that the UFC is fully aware of the situation. It pushed for UFC 249 after the initial iteration of the event was canceled in California.

Things must move smoothly Saturday evening if the UFC is to continue hosting events. That’s for sure.