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.”
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.