No, UFC president Dana White has not cancelled UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson. At least, not yet. He did, however, add to the concern that many are expressing as the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been elevated from epidemic to pandemic status.
White posted to his Instagram stories late Wednesday night, which was actually a re-share of an RT Sports post that teased about the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson fight being cancelled.
Here is the image White shared to his Instagram stories:
The post was likely made somewhat in jest, as White has recently commented about not wanting to go into a mode where he starts shutting down UFC events or hosting events without an audience, such as ONE Championship has opted to do.
It is even more poignant for this particular bout because Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson has been scheduled no less than four times. Every time it has been scheduled the fight has been nixed for one reason or another: injuries, weight cut issues, etc.
If the bout were to be cancelled again because of the coronavirus pandemic, many are calling it the most cursed match-up in UFC history.
The coronavirus has already threatened this weekend’s UFC on ESPN+ 28 in Brasilia, where recently implemented government restrictions will either cancel the event or force it to move forward without a ticketed audience in the 16,000-seat Ginásio Nilson Nelson arena. MMAWeekly.com is still working to confirm the status of UFC Brasilia.
The re-classification of the COVID-19 from an epidemic to a pandemic has government bodies scrambling across the world, many of which are putting their cities or regions on lockdown or cancelling gatherings of any significant size.
The World Health Organization has the following advice for the public to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) :
Wash your hands frequently
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain social distancing
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practice respiratory hygiene
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
- Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider
- Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
- Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
The Center for Disease Control also warns that older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.