Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White railed against vaccine mandates in a new interview and declared that he would defy President Joe Biden by not requiring UFC fighters to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The UFC boss defended his decision by simply saying, "This is a free country."
White gave an interview to Fox News' Brian Kilmeade that was released Friday. The UFC president was asked about Biden's sweeping vaccine mandate for businesses with over 100 employees that was made official on Thursday.
"My fighters can get vaccinated or not," White proclaimed. "We're not forcing people to get vaccinated. I believe as an American, that's your choice. If you want to get vaccinated — your body. This is a free country. You do what you want."
In August, White also declared that he would not require COVID-19 vaccines for his fighters.
"I would never tell another human being what to do with their body," White said. "If you want to get vaccinated, that's up to you. That's your choice. You're never going to hear me say I'm going to force people to get vaccinated. Never gonna happen."
Kilmeade asked about UFC 268 — which features the welterweight championship main event bout between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. UFC 268 will be held at Madison Square Garden in New York City — which will require all attendees to show proof of being fully vaccinated to enter indoor settings because of the city's health order.
"If you're vaccinated and you want to come to the event, you can come to the event in New York," the no-holds-barred UFC president said. "If you're not, we're gonna be putting on 44 events around the country, you can go to one of those shows."
White pointed to Republican Glenn Youngkin defeating former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial race as a possible turning point in the country's perspective on COVID-19 restrictions.
"I think you see the tide starting to turn now," White stated. "I even see some people on the crazy liberal side now saying, 'Whoa, what are we doing here?' I think everybody is starting to notice that things aren't working, things aren't the way they used to be. I think people just want some normalcy again. You're seeing it in Virginia."
White was asked about "free handouts" from the government, such as "free community college" and "free preschool."
"There's no such thing as free," White responded. "And you should know by now the government is never going to take care of you. You need to take care of yourself."
"Through the pandemic, I wasn't going to sit around and wait for the government to take care of me or my people," White said. "I'm an American. We take things head-on. We figure out solutions to problems."
"I'm a big believer of the American dream, it's real, I'm living it right now, as are many other people who live in this country," he proclaimed. "Listen, this country isn't perfect and never will be, but it's about as good as it gets compared to what's out there."
"Going through the pandemic the way that we did – finding solutions to problems instead of hiding – was this the best thing that we've ever done," White said of being one of the first sports associations to return to action during the pandemic.
"My intention was to take care of my people," he said. "Through the pandemic we didn't lay off one person, we didn't cut anyone's salaries, everybody got their full bonuses that year, and all my fighters' contracts were kept."
White made headlines in April when UFC 261 was held at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. More than 15,000 tickets to the event sold out in minutes because it was the first major sporting event to have a full-capacity indoor crowd since COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions were implemented in the United States.