The UFC is the last major sports league standing. After fears over the coronavirus led to a number of leagues suspending their seasons, there were questions about whether the UFC would follow suit.
However, we learned late Thursday night that the UFC will be moving forward with its schedule as planned but there will be some minor changes. Rather than holding the events at the original venues in Columbus, Ohio and Portland, Oregon, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will move the events to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas — which is located directly across the street from the UFC Performance Institute.
“Both events will proceed with only essential personnel in attendance and without spectators. UFC is working directly with Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett on implementing a process to screen the competing athletes for the coronavirus to ensure their health and safety,” a statement from the UFC read. “These events are scheduled to be broadcast live on ESPN’s platforms here in the U.S., and by UFC’s media partners around the world.
“We know many of our fans in Ohio and Oregon are disappointed, as are we. Ticket holders may seek a full refund at the point of purchase. We look forward to returning to Columbus and Portland at the earliest opportunity.”
UFC Fight Night: Ngannou vs. Rozenstruik, originally scheduled for Saturday, March 28, at Nationwide Arena, in Columbus, Ohio, will be relocated following the State of Ohio’s ban on large gatherings of 100 or more. In addition, UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris, originally scheduled for Saturday, April 11 at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, will be relocated following the State of Oregon’s ban on large public gatherings of 250 or more.
This weekend, the UFC will be holding UFC on ESPN+ 28 at Ginasio Nilson Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil. The event — headlined by a lightweight battle between Kevin Lee and Charles Oliveira — will be held without a live audience.
The coronavirus outbreak has led to the cancellation or postponing of many large events including the NCAA Tournament, Coachella, SXSW, the Winter X Games, Stagecoach, Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and more. The NBA, NHL, and MLS have temporarily suspended their seasons.
The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.
While a majority of the cases have been detected in China, it has now reached many countries around the world including the United States. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.