It took a minute, but Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has officially addressed its plans for events moving forward following the coronavirus outbreak. Company president, Dana White, stopped by ESPN’s SportsCenter to confirm that this weekend’s (Sat., March 14) UFC Fight Night 170 event in Brasilia, Brazil, will indeed go on with no fans in attendance.
Furthermore, the UFC Fight Night 171 event, which is scheduled to go down on March 21, 2020, in London England, featuring a welterweight fight between Tyron Woodley and Leon Edwards, will go on as planned. That being said, he didn’t confirm if it will also be behind closed doors.
In addition to those two events, UFC on ESPN 8, which is scheduled for March 28, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio, will now take place at UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Earlier today, it was also revealed that UFC Fight Night 172 — which was scheduled to go down inside Moda Center in Portland, Ore., on April 11 — will also be moved to “Sin City.”
As for the health of the athletes, White says all combatants will be tested for coronavirus prior to the event.
“We are working directly with NSAC and director, Bob Bennett, on implementing a process to screen athletes before they compete,” he said. “One of the things we always do is look out for the health and safety of our fans, or athletes, whatever it might be. Obviously, this thing going on, we are going to do the same thing. We are going to make sure that two healthy athletes are competing.”
Unfortunately, White didn’t mention plans for UFC 249, which features the highly-anticipated lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, and is set to go down on April 18, 2020, in Brooklyn, New York.
That said, if push comes to shove, it’s safe to assume that it will likely hit UFC’s Apex Center, as well. But, there is always the option to suspend it until a later date.