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As UFC Columbus looms, Ohio governor proposes banning fans from indoor sporting events due to coronavirus fears

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UFC 248: Press Conference Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The coronavirus outbreak is still going strong and has no signs of slowing down. As a result, several sporting events in many countries have been forced to stage games with no fans in attendance. Even the NBA is prepared to do so moving forward.

And despite some mixed martial arts (MMA) organizations such as Combate Americas and KSW cancelling events altogether, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) remains steadfast in its stance that it will be businesses as usual moving forward.

UFC vice president of communications, Lenee Breckenridge, recently told ESPN that the company is “proceeding as planned for our upcoming events,” but would be monitoring the situation closely with venues and all parties involved.

That being said, proceeding as planned may be easier said than done if governing bodies of certain states have their way. According to journalist Matt Wright, Ohio’s governor has recommended there be no spectators allowed for all indoor sports activities for the foreseeable future.

So, with UFC on ESPN 8 set to go down on March 28 in Columbus, it could put a damper on the promotion’s plans if the proposition goes through.

Just last week, Ohio officials cancelled part of the annual Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, so if The Terminator himself couldn’t get his way, Dana White and Co. have a tough fight on their hands if Governor DeWine decides to lay the law down.

UFC’s new APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada is equipped to handle an event if need be, as the “Contender Series” takes place inside the massive 50,000 square-foot facility. However, the promotion has yet to use it for an actual UFC event that draws thousands of fans.

I guess now is as good a time as any.

UFC Columbus is set to feature a heavyweight bout between former title contender, Francis Ngannou, and fellow power-puncher, Jairzinho Rozenstruik. In the co-main event, Cody Garbrandt and Raphael Assuncao will collide in bantamweight action.