UFC 249 shows how sports can safely return

Combat Sports
ufc 249

JACKSONVILLE, FL – MAY 09: General view of the stadium as Justin Gaethje of the United States climbs the cage after defeating Tony Ferguson of the United States in the Interim lightweight title fight during UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 9, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Somebody finally broke the ice. The UFC did and it was a tremendous success. The fights at UFC 249 were spectacular and everybody appears to have gotten out of Jacksonville without anything worse than the normal bloody forehead. Tests were given, masks were worn when mandated and social distancing practiced.

Sure, the fans were missed, but the UFC could provide a good road forward as sports maps out its return to the national landscape. Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports gave this assessment:

Someone had to be first and the UFC was willing to do it. Perhaps even more significantly, it didn’t back away because of the presence of a positive test in its ranks. Whether this is wise or foolish for public health can be debated by others. For the sake of sports returning, it was critical.

If the NBA returns, someone is going to test positive. Same for the NFL and baseball and college football, hockey or anything else. Positive tests will occur. The virus is too prevalent and the numbers of athletes and coaches and support staff too large. No system is going to keep it completely out.

The question becomes, does one positive test send a full team or an entire league into another 14-day shutdown, or do you just isolate and power through?

The UFC did the latter. The result in the short term was spectacular, a brilliant night of fights. 

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