The UFC was the first organization to bring sports back during the pandemic and they did this through rigorous testing of its athlete, teams and staff for COVID-19.
However, it certainly wasn’t going to be cheap.
According to UFC president Dana White, COVID testing in 2020 has cost the promotion a massive figure of $17 million and it’s only likely to increase going into the new year.
“We’ve spent $17 million on COVID testing this year,” White told TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter. “And think about this — 1,470 UFC athletes, cornermen and staff were transported. 1,700 commercial flights, 34 charter flights. Everybody keeps talking about how difficult it is for some of these other sports because of the teams — we had 164 athletes from 40 different countries that competed this year.
“Oh and by the way, they were talking about how great it was that the NBA players had an 8.8% positivity rate? Ours was 0.8%.”
As for the total number of tests?
“COVID tests to date? 26,300.”
White: Things Are Going To Happen With COVID-19
Of course, there have been a lot more positive COVID-19 tests for fighters and coaches lately that have resulted in rescheduled or canceled fights as well as shorter fight cards.
Because of that, the upcoming UFC Vegas 17 card on December 19 has as many as 15 fights currently scheduled.
That said, White isn’t worried about the recent increase in positive tests. After all, it is a virus.
“I just told you earlier, we have the lowest [positivity rate] out of all sports. When I say lowest, it’s not even in the same universe. So our system is pretty dialed in but you’re dealing with a virus — things are going to happen.”
Hopefully, no further fights are affected for the final event of the year in UFC Vegas 17.