LAS VEGAS – There’s growing evidence the rush to reopen in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to backfire.

Coronavirus cases are rising at an alarming degree in much of the country, with states such as Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma, which were among the earliest to lift shutdowns enacted to slow the pandemic, having some of the biggest increases.

This has affected the sports world, as well, complicating attempts to get major sports back up and running, with viral clusters tied to MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies and the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning coming to light Friday.

The UFC was the first major sports entity to return to action, getting back up and running with UFC 249 on May 9 after an absence of nearly two months, and thus far avoiding major setbacks since the slate of regular events resumed.

UFC president Dana White isn’t going to let the company get caught flat-footed. In a press conference following Friday’s UFC on ESPN 11 weigh-ins at UFC Apex, White told reporters he’s already mapping out a plan in case the country goes back under widespread stay-at-home orders.

“I told you guys going into this thing I’m always thinking about what’s next,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie. “And one of the frustrating parts about this whole thing is, I keep telling this story, I was telling it again this morning: Four months ago, I could have told you everything about this business, where’s it’s going, where it’s going to happen. I don’t know now. So all I do is sit around and strategize and try to plan. And I’m planning for a second shutdown, that it will happen again.”

It’s far too soon for White to give details on what the UFC under a second shutdown might look like, but as an executive with two decades’ knowledge of how many things can go wrong, he says the company is preparing for any and all scenarios.

“I’m always thinking about the worst, what’s the worst thing that can – when you hear (fighters) talking about when they train, they put themselves in the worst positions they can possibly be in, that’s how I look at this business, too. What’s the worst position we can possibly be in? And my number one goal is always I don’t want to lay off any of my employees, and I don’t want fighters sitting inactive and not being able to compete.

“When you’re a professional athlete, you have a very small window of opportunity, a very limited amount of time. You know, we get into all the money sh-t and stuff that’s going on right now. Everybody acts like this is a career. This isn’t a career. This is not a career. This is an opportunity. Anything can happen at any given moment. Your knee could pull out. Your back. Your this, your that. COVID-19, who the hell knows what is coming down the pipeline?”