During a segment about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted sports, WWE, AEW, and the UFC continuing to run events was spotlighted on the latest edition of HBO’s Last Week Tonight.
Last night’s Last Week Tonight episode featured host John Oliver discussing “the sudden disappearance of sports due to coronavirus, how their absence is impacting people emotionally and financially, and the complications of bringing them back anytime soon.”
“There is clearly a desire to restart sporting events. The question, though, isn’t why sports should come back, it’s how that can safely happen. Because to do it responsibly would be a mammoth undertaking. To do it irresponsibly, however, turns out to be quite easy,” Oliver said before bringing up how WWE has continued to run closed set shows with Florida declaring professional sports with a national audience an essential service as long as it’s closed to the public.
After saying that WWE maintains its safety measures are as comprehensive as they can possibly be, Oliver mentioned the anonymous letter where a supposed WWE employee asked the county to shut WWE’s tapings down because they can’t maintain social distancing.
Oliver played a clip where Vince McMahon said on last month’s earnings call that viewers are starved for new content during the pandemic. Oliver responded by saying that he would argue that the risks of creating content the way WWE is seem to outweigh the benefits right now.
Oliver said it isn’t just WWE running shows in Florida, it’s AEW and UFC as well. He brought up Dana White’s plan to have shows for international fighters on “Fight Island.” Oliver also said that Jacare Souza having to pull out of UFC 249 when he and two of his cornermen tested positive for COVID-19 underscores that “if you want to come back completely without risk, that’s just not possible right now.”
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In October 2018, Last Week Tonight covered WWE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and the company holding Crown Jewel 2018 despite the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. An episode of the show in April 2019 also covered how WWE classifies wrestlers as Independent contractors.
Last night’s full segment is available to watch below: