While most professional sports quickly postponed their seasons due to COVID-19, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) took a decidedly contrarian approach as president Dana White continued to promote UFC 249 until pressure forced its cancelation on April 9, 2020. Drawing from work on sport and spectacle and the media as well as sport management scholarship on crisis management, the authors provide a commentary on the mediated spectacle of White’s (eventually successful) efforts to promote UFC 249 during the pandemic. Drawing from numerous media sources, they discuss how White sought to control the public narrative in several key ways. The authors further explore how White decried the seriousness of the pandemic while centralizing the UFC’s place in the U.S. sporting landscape. Finally, the authors discuss how White’s efforts might both help and hinder the UFC as a mainstream sports promotion.
Ted M. Butryn, Matthew A. Masucci, and jay a. johnson
Earl Smith and Angela J. Hattery
exploitation of athlete labor calls for a more nuanced perspective when we consider that even benchwarmers on National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL) teams earn many times more per year than the average family, and superstars earn more than the profits of many mid