Dana White shares he was more worried about COVID-19 than Russian sanctions

The ongoing military intervention in Ukraine affected the lives of many athletes from both countries.

Besides the fighters, the promotions also face issues considering some countries are banning athletes from Russia to compete on their soil. One notable example is ONE Championship having to cancel all fights featuring Russian fighters due to them not being allowed to compete in Singapore.

But for UFC president Dana White, the crisis is still under control – more so than the pandemic situation the world faced two years ago.

In an interview with Robbie Fox for Barstool Sports, the 52-years old was asked about the complications related to getting Russian fighters in London amidst the ongoing conflict.

“First of all, we always have visa issues… But one thing I must say, think about what’s going on right now [Russia-Ukraine war], we got every Russian out of there and you know, they’re all fighting on the card… After Covid, when Covid started shutting down things, it all happened so fast. I tell you the stories from back when it went down. I would literally get all this stuff done, would leave work, drive home, by the time I got home, everything we had just planned would be [cancelled],” said White.

UFC has faced one of the toughest situations in its almost-30-years run when the COVID-19 practically sidelined all major sports including NFL, NBA and more.

One of the biggest fights of 2020, UFC lightweight championship between then-champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is one of the fights that was impacted by the situation.

Nurmagomedov was unable to leave Russia due to the travel restrictions enacted back in 2020, he was then replaced by Justin Gaethje, who ended up derailing Ferguson’s 12-fight win streak by 5th round TKO.