Eddie Hearn blasts Dana White's plans for UFC fight island during pandemic

Eddie Hearn has reacted with disbelief that Dana White has drafted such drastic plans to stage UFC fights during the coronavirus pandemic.

White shocked the world by announcing UFC 249 would go ahead at a secret location this month in America and he had secured a ‘private island’ to host future fight nights.

Sport across the world has been cancelled amid the worsening health crisis and Matchroom boss and boxing promoter Hearn criticised White for ignoring health warnings.

‘It’s unbelievable, I’d like to think that in boxing, there’s no-one more roll your sleeves up and get on with it than me,’ Hearn told Express Sport.

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‘But even I wouldn’t consider staging an event right now. I’m not even thinking about options, not even on the radar.

‘This is stubbornness. These are many of the things that make him successful but at some point you have to sit back and say “white flag”.

‘I’m quite surprised ESPN are going ahead with this, obviously they want ratings and money.

‘But with Sky Sports and DAZN, I would not be allowed to stage events right now. It’s bad taste to be quite honest.

‘He wants to be a trailblazer, people have told him he can’t do it. But I know the feeling of being told something and you do it anyway.

‘Half of me admires him for cracking on but the other half says “come on, don’t be mad”.’

White has refused to name the location for UFC 249, but has said the fighters and staff will be tested for coronavirus before the event.

The US has banned mass gatherings and several states are on lockdown, but White has dismissed concerns about spreading the virus and putting fighters and staff at risk.

‘This place, where this fight’s going to be on April 18th, I have locked up for two months, so I’m going to continue to pump fights at. I’ve also secured an island. I’ve got an island,’ he told ESPN.

‘The infrastructure is being built right now. We’re going to do all our international fights on that island. 

‘So when we do this fight on April 18th, international and in the United States, we’re going to start cranking. The UFC will be back up and running,’ he added.

‘We’re going back to back to back. We’re going back to our regular schedule.’

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