Pictured at the Park Hyatt Hotel at The Rocks in Sydney is UFC President Dana White. He is in Sydney to announce that UFC 234 will be held in Melbourne in February next year. Picture: Richard Dobson
Pictured at the Park Hyatt Hotel at The Rocks in Sydney is UFC President Dana White. He is in Sydney to announce that UFC 234 will be held in Melbourne in February next year. Picture: Richard Dobson

How UFC can help NRL make most of being first back

UFC president Dana White has offered to personally walk Peter V'landys through a private 30-page blueprint that will see his sport become the world's first back in action this weekend, stressing: "He only has to pick up the phone".

With only three weeks until the NRL relaunches, White has offered the NRL and its Project Apollo committee access to not only his hyped COVID-19 playbook, but also any new information gleaned from UFC 249 in Florida on Sunday.

While all of America remains in lockdown, the UFC is readying for a blockbuster relaunch which - headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje - will have what White describes as "at least three 'holy s...' moments".

 

More importantly for the NRL however, UFC 249 is set to unveil a host of biosecurity measures that, already presented to various American government agencies and athletic commissions, could also aid Project Apollo's push for a May 28 return.

Apart from staging three UFC events within his first week back, White is also finalising details for a private island to host international fighters by June, including Australia's featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski.

Despite having only limited knowledge of rugby league, the UFC boss shares an obvious synergy with ARLC chairman V'landys, given both administrators have copped plenty of criticism while attempting to become the first sports back in their respective countries.

Dana White has offered Peter V’landys some advice before the UFC and NRL return.
Dana White has offered Peter V’landys some advice before the UFC and NRL return.

"And I'd be honoured to help him (V'landys) out in any way I can," White told News Corp Australia.

"He only has to pick up the phone and I'll assist with anything.

"With the work and thought that's gone into our document, I know people are very impressed. And while nothing is ever perfect, never 100 per cent foolproof, I think ours is a pretty good plan.

"And certainly we're going to find out this weekend."

Asked what advice he would give V'landys and the Project Apollo team, White continued: "Block out all the noise and do what you think is right.

"Take care of your employees and your athletes, that's what you need to worry about."

White also revealed UFC officials will also soon begin working with Australian Border Force to ensure both Volkanovski and No.1 UFC middleweight contender Robert Whittaker can be among the first flown via private jet to Fight Island.

The UFC president also said there were no feelings of vindication, despite Sunday's card proving so many naysayers wrong.

"No, I don't feel that way (vindicated) at all," he said.

"I just knew we'd be first.

Alex Volkanovski could be part of the UFC’s unique Fight Island.
Alex Volkanovski could be part of the UFC’s unique Fight Island.

"Knew it.

"And it wasn't a matter of us saying 'oh, we have to be first', this is just how we operate.

"We find solutions to problems.

"Obviously we've faced a lot of challenges in trying to do that but we got it figured out.

"Since day one, we've found solutions to problems.

"Whenever problems have popped up, or something bad happens, my team and I have got really good at figuring it out."

Originally published as How UFC can help NRL make most of being first back



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