Dana White has admitted the ongoing Hong Kong protests are messing with the upcoming UFC Shenzhen card scheduled to take place later this month.
The UFC will have its debut event in Shenzhen at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre on August 31 that will see China’s own Weili Zhang challenge Jessica Andrade for the women’s strawweight title in the main event. It’s a huge event for the country and one that White is particularly hyping up.
However, bordering Shenzhen is Hong Kong where ongoing protests are taking place against an extradition bill proposed by the government. Protests began in March but have intensified in recent months with protestors and police clashing in Hong Kong’s international airport, resulting in canceled flights to and from the region.
And with images and videos of troops assembling in Shenzhen to reportedly enter Hong Kong, tensions could increase further.
“Yeah, it’s definitely messing with the event,” White said at the UFC 241 post-fight press conference when asked about the conflict. “And definitely making it even more challenging. Me personally, I’m so excited for that fight. It’s such an important fight not just for that division, but for both countries. If Weili Zhang can win and become world champion, it’s a huge deal for China. Now, we all know how Brazil is, Brazil loves champions and having world titles. So if Andrade can win that fight and keep her belt, that’s big.
“But yeah, I’ve already started messing with my flights and connections to get in there already, especially after what happened the other day in Hong Kong[‘s airport].”
Despite the situation, White still plans for UFC Shenzhen to take place — even if he’s the only one who will end up in attendance.
“Oh, yeah. We’re doing the card no matter what,” he stated. “That’s happening no matter what happens. Even if it’s just me sitting over there watching the fight.
“No, there haven’t been [logistical issues] but I’m making sure that I get there no matter what happens, if something like what happened in the Hong Kong airport happens again. I’m finding out alternative routes to get there, I’m going to be there no matter what.”