The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to its Las Vegas backyard on Saturday for UFC on ESPN: Woodley vs. Burns at the UFC Apex facility. The fight promotion was the first major sports organization to return to holding events, without spectators, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saturday was the fourth UFC event this month. In their previous broadcast, the focus was on healthcare workers battling the outbreak and those affected. At the beginning of Saturday's broadcast, the fight promotion honored George Floyd, the Minneapolis man whose death while in police custody on Monday has led to a national uprising. The tragic incident was caught on video and sparked ongoing protests and riots.
The officer that caused Floyd's death, Derek Chauvin, was fired and has since been arrested and charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. The three other officers on the scene have also been fired, but none had been arrested or charged as of Saturday evening.
During the event's post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White was asked about the decision to honor Floyd. The answer was simple.
“Because we should,” White said. “What happened was horrible and it’s something really affecting this country right now and the world. There’s riots going on everywhere, across the world, right now. It was the right thing to do.”
The fight promotion also honored former ringside physician Dr. Albert Capanna, who passed away early this month.
“We did (one) for him and (one) for the Nevada State Athletic Commission doctor who just passed away, too, who was a great guy,” White said. “He did a lot of the fights and did a lot of the ‘TUF’ fights.”