The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) held an emergency conference call deciding to shut down all combat sports events in Nevada until they can decide how to best deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The commission is scheduled to have a meeting on March 25 to decide the future of these sporting events moving forward.
UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Rozenstruik, scheduled for March 28, and UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris, slated for April 11 were moved from Columbus, Ohio, and Portland, Ore., to take place at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas with no audience in attendance. Even though the NAC won’t make its final decision until March 25, the UFC seems to have decided that those fights will still happen, but somewhere else.
“As of now, the (March 28 and April 11) fights can’t happen at the APEX here in Las Vegas. We’re working to find new locations, but the fights will go on. They will continue. We’re not stopping,” Dana White said on ESPN.
UFC officials seem to believe that the NAC’s decision on March 25 won’t fall in their favor or they just don’t want the uncertainty to be a drag on the promotion or the fighters preparing for their bouts. One thing for sure, the UFC is being proactive and not waiting for other entities to determine its fate.
The United Kingdom also announced travel restrictions due to COVID-19, so UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Edwards scheduled for March 21 will also be moved.
“Obviously things are changing by the hour. (Saturday) morning they announced new travel restrictions for the U.K. So the fight obviously can’t continue in London, but the fight will go on. We’re working on finding a new venue, likely in the United States.”
But the card will apparently change as the UFC scrambles to keep the event alive.
“I have my matchmakers working right now to put together the undercard. The bottom line is that fight is happening and the main event will go on,” said White.
“We’re not stopping. We will keep finding a way to put on the fights. I’m in the fight business. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and this stuff happens to me every weekend,” he continued.
“So I’m used to this stuff. Not at this level obviously, but this is what we do. And we always make sure that the cards happen, and they will continue to happen.”
Dana White working have UFC fight cards take place, despite restrictions
(Courtesy of UFC)