UFC Brasilia to go behind closed doors due to Coronavirus lockdown

Not exactly unexpected, but sources close to the situation have confirmed that UFC on ESPN+ 28: Lee vs. Oliveira is moving behind closed doors this weekend. 

UFC officials made the call on Thursday after cancelling the UFC Brasilia Media Day and Ceremonial Weigh-ins just hours earlier. 

The Brazilian government forced the UFC’s hand when it decreed a ban on any events with more than 100 people in attendance. The planned arena for UFC Brasilia holds 16,000 people.

Ibaneis Rocha, the Federal District governor, on Wednesday announced the suspension of any event with an audience greater than 100, as well as the suspension of classes at schools until at least March 16 because of growing concern about the spread of the coronavirus. There are reportedly 2 confirmed cases and 74 suspected cases of coronavirus in Brasilia.

The next shoe to drop for the UFC could be Ohio, which on Thursday nixed events greater than 100 people.

Bernie Profato, the executive director of the Ohio Athletic Commission, told The Athletic that the UFC is already making back-up plans for UFC on ESPN 8, slated for March 28 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus,  if they are not allowed to have fans in attendance.

“I just got off the phone with the UFC an hour ago, and they’re planning on coming here,” Profato said. “But I know for a fact, they did tell me that if they can’t bring fans, then they’re already looking at a backup facility, a small facility there in Las Vegas. They’re not going to bring everybody here if they can’t have fans at the event.”

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The World Health Organization has the following advice for the public to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) :

Wash your hands frequently

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Maintain social distancing

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Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

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Practice respiratory hygiene

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  • 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.

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