UFC president Dana White said his business saw exponential growth throughout the pandemic, crediting the success to investing in his employees and continuing to hold events despite ongoing restrictions.
“Every event we’ve done has been a sellout,” White told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade ahead of Saturday’s UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden.
“Going through the pandemic the way that we did — finding solutions to problems instead of hiding — was this the best thing that we’ve ever done.”
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White said he made it through the pandemic without cutting salaries or laying off employees. He also said all fighters kept their contracts.
“My intention was to take care of my people,” he said.
White spoke out against vaccine mandates, saying Americans shouldn’t be forced to get vaccinated. He said he is not implementing a vaccine requirement in the UFC.
“My fighters can get vaccinated or not,” he said. “I believe as an American, that’s your choice. If you want to get vaccinated — your body. This is a free country. You do what you want.”
UFC 268, has already sold out at Madison Square Garden. New York City, however, has required vaccinations for all attendees.
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White said there will be numerous other shows around the country open to fans regardless of vaccination status.
“If you’re vaccinated and you want to come to the event, you can come to the event in New York. If you’re not, we’re gonna be putting on 44 events around the country, you can go to one of those shows,” he said.
White said he believes the mood of the country is beginning to shift, as seen in Tuesday’s Republican victories in Virginia.
“I think you see the tide starting to turn now,” he said. “I even see some people on the crazy liberal side now saying ‘whoa, what are we doing here?’ … I think people just want some normalcy again. You’re seeing it in Virginia.”
White previously discussed with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he wanted to keep politics out of UFC.
“When people tune in to watch sports, they don’t want to hear that,” he said on “Hannity.”
White said the American dream is what drove him to be successful.
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“I’m an American,” he said. “We take things head-on. We figure out solutions to problems.”
“Through the pandemic, I wasn’t going to sit around and wait for the government to take care of me or my people.”