Fighters Could Lose Salary For Criticizing UFC's COVID-19 Security Measures

UFC fighters participating in the UFC 249 The Florida event could lose its purses and bonuses if they publicly criticize the health and safety precautions of promoting the fight for COVID-19, according to an event participation agreement seen by Reuters.

With sporting events canceled worldwide due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the UFC is staging three cards in eight days in Jacksonville, Florida.

Before competing, fighters taking part in the UFC 249 event on May 9 were asked to sign an eight-page event participation agreement.

A no-disregard clause in the undated agreement states that the Participant will not suggest or communicate to any person or entity that the events have taken place or will take place without due health, safety or other precautions, either in relation to with COVID-19 or otherwise.

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The agreement goes on to say that if a wrestler fails to comply with this clause, the Company may revoke all or part of any cash prize or prize won ... including, but not limited to, purses, bonuses to win, other related to fighting bonuses and royalties of event-based merchandise.

Though signed exclusively to the promotion, UFC fighters are independent contractors rather than employees, and purses and bonuses form a major part of the income of almost all of the fighters on the roster.

A UFC spokesperson declined to comment on the clause and the possibility of penalties being imposed on fighters, instead referring to comments Dana White gave to Yahoo in which the UFC president said that fighters would not be punished for airing their opinions about the health and safety arrangements.

If a fighter says something that is not true, if he says that we don't prove anyone for this, that (would violate the agreement). But if he said something that was true, his opinion, then that is different. White said.

In recent weeks, a fighter has expressed reservations about entering the cage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heavyweight Greg Hardy , who suffers from asthma, said in a news conference on Thursday that he was "terrified" of the virus, but he went on to compete on the UFC 249 card and scored a decision victory over Yorgan De Castro.

A planned middleweight match between Ronaldo Jacare Souza and UrĂ­as Room He was suspended Saturday after Souza tested positive for COVID-19 after his arrival in Florida.