Despite the UFC’s best efforts to implement a ‘the show must go on’ policy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s now been announced that their next three events have been postponed.
White first revealed the news in a lengthy statement to UFC employees first yesterday, confirming that not only have UFC Fight Night 171, UFC On ESPN 8 and UFC Fight Night 172 have all now been put on ice indefinitely, but that the UFC’s own offices in Las Vegas are now to temporarily close too.
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.
White later spoke on ESPN about the situation and still showed some signs of defiance by claiming that UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson will still go ahead, though at this stage, barring a miracle it’s hard to imagine how that will be possible.
“We’re going to follow these guidelines to not have more than ten people in a room and we’re hoping this clears up by April,” White stated. “This fight is going to happen. Crowd, whatever it takes. Probably not going to be in the United States, but this fight will happen.”