UFC postpones next three events, closes offices, but UFC 249 still on… for now

UFC president Dana White on Monday notified its employees that the promotion’s next three events were postponed because of increasing restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

White had remained steadfast in his attempts to go on with the show, even trying to move this weekend’s UFC London event to the United States with a new main event. All efforts fell to the wayside when first the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered guidance limiting all gatherings to less than 50 people then U.S. President Donald Trump requested that all gatherings be restricted to 10 or fewer people.

There was really no logistical way in which the UFC could reasonably hold an event under such conditions. 

In notifying UFC employees that the Fight Night cards slated for London, Columbus, and Portland were being postponed, White was also insistent that UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson was still currently scheduled for April 18, though he admitted that the location and venue might change.

In addition to the postponements, White told employees that, effective immediately, UFC offices would be closed until at least March 31. He also offered assistance to any employee or member of any employee’s family that is showing symptoms and having any trouble getting to a doctor.

UFC officials had yet to make a public announcement at the time of publication.

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Dana White’s email to UFC employees:

My Crew,

This has been a crazy couple of weeks.

We’ve been doing everything possible to stick to our live events schedule because the fighters want to fight, our employees want to work, and the fans want to watch our sport.

So many people have reached out over the past few days to say thanks for not canceling our Brasilia event on Saturday. When weird things happen in the world, or when there’s a tragedy, like the October 1 shooting, people want things to get back to normal, and nothing feels more normal than watching sports.

We did everything we could to relocate our next three events: London, Columbus, and Portland. But every day, there are new restrictions put in place on travel and large public gatherings that are making it impossible to stay on schedule. We can’t even hold an event in Vegas, our home town, because there’s a ban on all combat sports events in Nevada until at least March 25.

As you heard me say, I’ve been in the fight game for 20 years, and this is what we do — we find a way to keep our events going no matter what. If fighters miss weight, if fighters get hurt, or if states won’t regulate us, we figure out a way. But this is different. The whole world is being affected right now, and nothing is more important than the health and safety of you and your families.

That’s why we are closing all UFC offices effective immediately, including HQ in Vegas, through at least March 31st, and asking all employees to work from home. The PI will also be closed to all personnel, including athletes, during this time. The next three events – London, Columbus, and Portland — will be postponed. UFC 249 is still scheduled as planned, but the location may change. We’ll keep you posted.

I tell you guys all the time, you are the BEST TO EVER DO IT. It feels shitty now, but WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS, and we’ll be TOUGHER, STRONGER, AND MORE BADASS than before.

Right now, the number one priority is to take care of yourselves and your family.

Finally, I want you to know that UFC has your back. If you or any member of your family is showing symptoms of coronavirus and you’re having trouble getting to a doctor, please reach out to me, Lawrence, or Hunter.

Thanks. Dana