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UFC gives in to Coronavirus threat; Postpones three events indefinitely 

  • Dana White sends a letter to UFC employees confirming the postponement.
  • UFC to shut down business at all centers including HQ.
Anwesha Nag
CONTRIBUTOR
News
Modified 17 Mar 2020, 05:21 IST

Dana White
Dana White

The Coronavirus crackdown has finally broken through the resistance UFC was showing in face of the pandemic.

In a letter mailed to the employees of the promotion, UFC President Dana White confirmed that the next three scheduled events stand cancelled as of now, due to strict COVID-19 bans.


UFC postpones the next three events

After UFC Fight Night 171 had to retreat from London following a ban on mass gatherings by the UK government, most of the fights were by default cancelled due to travel restrictions. However, Dana White was still positive about finding a new venue and replacement fighters by the scheduled date - March 21. Memo was sent to managers welcoming any fighter on or off the UFC roster to step in.

White even said on SportsCenter that UFC will never going to back away unless there was a complete federal shutdown. Who knew White would have to eat his words later, as soon afterwards the three upcoming events were announced to be cancelled or postponed indefinitely.

The news was first shared on Twitter by UFC employee Michael Carroll after receiving White's letter on Monday.

After UFC London, the next two events were UFC on ESPN 8 on March 28 in Columbus, Ohio featuring Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the main event, and UFC Fight Night 171 on April 11 in Portland, Oregon headlined by Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris.

But once the respective state governments issued bans on large gatherings, both the events moved to the new arena, UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, in an emergency meeting last weekend, the Nevada State Athletic Commission decided to pull the plug on all sporting events at least till March 25.

UFC 249 on April 18 headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is still on, but the venue is yet to be decided.

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UFC to close down till March-end

In the letter to the staff, White said that UFC will shut down all offices, including the HQ at Las Vegas, effectively immediately. He also offered a helping hand to his employees, and asked them to reach out if they need any assistance in this troublesome time.

Read the full letter by Dana White below, as reported by MMA Junkie.

My Crew,

This has been a crazy couple of weeks.

We’ve been doing everything possible to stick to our live events schedule because the fighters want to fight, our employees want to work, and the fans want to watch our sport.

So many people have reached out over the past few days to say thanks for not canceling our Brasilia event on Saturday. When weird things happen in the world, or when there’s a tragedy, like the October 1 shooting, people want things to get back to normal, and nothing feels more normal than watching sports.

We did everything we could to relocate our next three events– London, Columbus, and Portland. But every day, there are new restrictions put in place on travel and large public gatherings that are making it impossible to stay on schedule. We can’t even hold an event in Vegas, our home town, because there’s a ban on all combat sports events in Nevada until at least March 25.

As you heard me say, I’ve been in the fight game for 20 years, and this is what we do—we find a way to keep our events going no matter what. If fighters miss weight, if fighters get hurt, or if states won’t regulate us, we figure out a way. But this is different. The whole world is being affected right now, and nothing is more important than the health and safety of you and your families.

That’s why we are closing all UFC offices effective immediately, including HQ in Vegas, through at least March 31st, and asking all employees to work from home. The PI will also be closed to all personnel, including athletes, during this time. The next three events– London, Columbus, and Portland—will be postponed. UFC 249 is still scheduled as planned, but the location may change. We’ll keep you posted.

I tell you guys all the time, you are the BEST TO EVER DO IT. It feels shitty now, but WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS, and we’ll be TOUGHER, STRONGER, AND MORE BADASS than before.

Right now, the number one priority is to take care of yourselves and your family.

Finally, I want you to know that UFC has your back. If you or any member of your family is showing symptoms of coronavirus and you’re having trouble getting to a doctor, please reach out to me, Lawrence, or Hunter.

Thanks.

Dana

Published 17 Mar 2020, 05:21 IST
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