Bob Arum has been making his way through the Netflix library, as his daily ‘To Do' list continues on the DC (During Coronavirus) track.
“Hollywood,” on Netflix, he says, is outstanding. The mini-series traffics in the hunger to suceed, and how exiting World War 2 instilled a drive in some ambitious types to head to Tinseltown, and climb the ladder to promised bounty, fame, fortune and regular dopamine over-surges.
But Arum (seen with Tyson Fury in photo by Mikey Williams for Top Rank), the 88 year old Brooklyn born deal-maker, is not just being a couch potato king–he's working the phones and getting clarity on how it will be best to proceed with his company's re-entry into the waters, which are still murky.
At a site where they would hold fights, what is the best practice? How often should fighters on a card be tested? And at the Top Rank headquarters in Vegas, should everyone come back to work…or is staggered shifts the new normal, for a spell?
Arum is back and forth, really trying to get on the same page with the Nevada commission. In contrast, Dana White of UFC tried to do it his way with the officials who need to make sure all bases are covered, because they answer to higher powers, like the Governor. So, White pouted, and pivoted, and reached out to states that sent signals that they'd be inclined to be less stringent in terms of how to handle an athletic event, and instead let Dana be Dana.
Florida passed the test; Gov. Ron DeSantis has been in lock-step with the Trump administration, mostly, in how to deal with the virus. The Governor has been mocked because he ignores social distancing and mask use at times, and has gotten high marks from Trump for his efforts versus coronavirus.
The state has the eighth most cases in America, and nine states have more COVID-19 deaths than does the third most populous state in our union. DeSantis has also drawn heat for pushing re-opening before the virus' impact tailed off. The past week was the deadliest week yet for Florida.
The UFC fights, more scraps will run May 13 and May 16, are being held in Jacksonville, in Duval County. It is the state's seventh most populous county, and Jacksonville is the most populous city in all the state. This all probably doesn't mean that much to most people who are watching UFC 249, but it does matter in a bigger picture.
We are seeing a Red vs Blue divide, with many “red” states being led by stewards who are pushing hard to re-start the economy. Last month, the feds were saying that states should have passed their peak, clearly, before they get deep into re-start action. But that's not the case in places like Florida.
Caitlin Rivers of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told a U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee that none of the 31 states heading hard into re-opening meet all the ideal criteria needed to start reactivating the wheels of industry, commerce, production and consumption. “Ideal” includes a 14-day decline in cases, the ability to do robust contact tracing, a health system that won't get overwhelmed and will have enough protective gear for health care workers, and also rapid diagnostic testing.
“It's clear to me that we are in a critical moment of this fight,” Rivers told the subcommittee. “We risk complacency in accepting the preventable deaths of 2,000 Americans each day. We risk complacency in accepting that our health care workers do not have what they need to do their jobs safely. And we risk complacency in recognizing that without continued vigilance, we will again create the conditions that led to us being the worst-affected country in the world.”
That real talk doesn't gain entry through peoples' armor walls of ignorance, arrogance and listening to messaging from “news” sources that hide their true motivations, which is to keep the engines of commerce humming, profit from keeping citizens divided, and keep kindred spirits in power stations, even if that means thousands of innocents die daily so that big business can continue to thrive.
In fact, it is a version of a Civil War playing out, with maybe 45% for “better safe than sorry,” 25% for “masks are for wimps,” and the rest so puzzled or tired of the heated rhetoric that they are sitting out the fracas and going with the momentum in their region.
So, Arum is playing it more so safe, working from a “better safer than sorrier” POV. He told me he's liking Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN, and his message, that heavy duty testing is the key to having a responsible re-start on some economic cylinders.
“We're figuring how we're re-opening our office, in mid May. We'll have peoples' temperatures' taken and do testing, at least once a week,” he said. “Every day testing is impractical, but we'll take every pre-caution we can.”
One example of a tweak they'll employ. In the social media department, not everyone will come in the same day. “They'll work in shifts, and maintain proper spacing,” he explained. “You have to do it in coherent fashion. What they're doing now, in the US, is crazy, every cockamamie state going it alone. The federal government hasn't got a hold on it.”
Arum expects that his vision of the Trump administration handling of the virus response will travel to more and more people, especially in “red zone” regions that are now getting hit harder. Not to mention, people are picking up on the White House spike. The Trump valet, a spokesperson for the VP, and a personal assistant to Ivanka Trump have tested positive for the virus, showing that this thing is sticky as hell. It lingers, and doesn't give you a pass even if you are in a zone of wealth and privilege and power.
And the public is told that “every precaution” is taken to make sure the vastly obese President doesn't get infected–but then hears that not everyone around the President wears a mask. The President doesn't wear a mask. In other words, these folks seem to be deluded, believing that an invisible force field protects them.
What, Big Mac breath?
Mnuchin money repels the pathogen?
Eventually, people that have been blowing off memos will get them, Arum thinks. And what does that mean? He hopes, and I don't pretend that I don't, that come November, voters send the message that they've received the memos. (And there is polling to support his POV.)
“I'm telling you right now, this thing in November will be the biggest blue wave since Franklin Roosevelt, since 1932,” said an enthused Arum. You may not recall that the NY Democrat Roosevelt kayoed incumbent Herbert Hoover, the Republican from California, in both the electoral and popular vote.
FDR's CompuBox stats: he went 472-59 in electoral votes, and bettered Hoover 57-39% in the popular vote.
“The Senate will be under Democratic control, the House will hold control and Biden will be elected overwhemingly! The states like North Dakota, Montana, Georgia, pleaces will go blue,” Arum said, his tone up a decibel, “because people aren't stupid. This guy Trump is an absolute clown, he has no idea how to run a country!”