In a sports calendar devoid of major events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, men like Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White and former title contender and Submission Underground proprietor Chael Sonnen are trying to prove they are the exceptions to the rule.
Sonnen on Sunday moved forward with SUG 12, a grappling event consisting of nine pairings overall and headlined by Craig Jones, who kept his undefeated promotional record intact after taking out Kevin Casey via heel hook. The match took place in a converted grain silo in Oregon, minus the usual throng of fans and with only a single camera operator and Sonnen—he provided commentary—witnessing the action firsthand. During the usual round of media appearances to promote the show, Sonnen, with his trademark combination of puffery, charm and self-deprecation, attempted to minimize the significance of pushing forward in an environment where governments are ordering people to minimize their social contact. In an interview with UFC.com, Sonnen blithely surmised that, pandemic or no pandemic, he owed it to everyone involved to push ahead:
“We had this on the calendar. A deal is a deal, and we said we were moving forward and there’s a lot of people involved with this—people who have trained, people who have goals, people who, in all fairness, need to make a living. Not just the athletes, either. We’re talking production and everything. There’s just a lot of dominoes, and if you say you’re going to do something in this space, you do it.”
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