Written by on April 16, 2020

Traditional sports across the globe have been brought to a standstill as a result of COVID-19, with no certainty as to when and in what form they will commence, in the event that they do commence. News out of the sporting world is a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly as some sports and events have been insulated from the harsh economic impacts of this global pandemic; the eSports industry is very much open for business with streaming platforms like Twitch reporting huge increases in user streaming hours and in the case of Wimbeldon, they will reportedly receive $141 million from their pandemic insurance for cancelling their tournament; others like many lower leagues and quite possibly women’s football face existential threats; while worse still, organisations like theXFLhave already filed for bankruptcy and could quite possibly disappear forever. The postponement of the Olympic Games to 2021 could end up benefiting many athletes who are currently serving doping bans as their bans could be complete and in the case of Amateur Boxing’s international governing body (AIBA), they should be able to complete their reforms and hopefully have their suspension lifted before the Tokyo Games are held in 2021.

Discussions are taking place across the globe; in boardrooms, businesses and homes alike on whether or not to save not-yet-completed seasons and if so, when will they commence and in what capacity. The sad reality is that no-one really knows and in the event that these seasons are abruptly ended now, what the impact will be on crowning champions, determining relegation/promotion and qualification for post-season events/cup competitions.

The most sane approach this writer has come across is that regarding the Tour de France, saying that “holding this event in the best conditions possible is judged essential given its central place in cycling’s economy and its exposure, in particular for the teams that benefit on this occasion from unparalleled visibility”.

It is at this point that I digress to what, in my opinion, is most certainly the ugliest of the ugly…….The WWE and the UFC!

Despite the cancellation of sport around the world, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) broadcast a brand new live event on Monday night. The event was without any fans after Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis deemed jumping around a square ring in your underwear an “essential service”, this while the state of Florida is under an executive order which limits movement outside of homes in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19! To make matters worse, the UFC’s Dana White has announced that the UFC will be back on track as the company prepares to host its next event on May 9, at a location yet to be determined – quite possibly on “Fight Island” or, if they have been watch the antics of the MacMahon’s, it could take place in Florida.

Once again, let me not come across as someone who is just pointing fingers because I have time on my hands, quite the contrary, the ridiculousness of this all is that these events are being planned and hosted while people are literally dying from a virus that can only be spread by coming into contact with other people who are infected with it! At the time of writing this, more that 2.06 million people have been infected with more that 137,000 fatalities. The USA has reported at least 638,000 cases (31%), including more than 30,000 deaths (22%)! 

To make matters worse, US President Donald Trump has hired both WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and UFC President Dana White as part of a 100-strong advisory group which will consult him on when and how to “reopen” the economy after coronavirus. WTF!!!

We all want to see our favourite sports back, either live at the stadiums or at least on the box, because I am not sure how many more re-runs I will be able to watch…..but using the aforementioned statement by the Tour de France as a template is surely the most logical approach. Given the unparalleled visibility of both the WWE and the UFC, holding their next events in the best possible conditions, without the fear and possibility of infecting staff, athletes and their families is surely more important for the sporting economy and its exposure. The fact that many of their athletes/stars have chosen not to participate due to health concerns should be enough for them to reconsider their plans and show that people are more important that profits.

IMAGE CREDIT: Sportskeeda Jan 2017

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