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Pros react to UFC hosting events during coronavirus outbreak: ‘We are a different breed of athletes’

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UFC 247 Jon Jones v Reyes MMA News Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has decided to keep things rolling despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and it all starts with UFC Fight Night 170 later tonight (Sat., Mar. 14, 2020) live on ESPN+ from inside Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil.

As major sports organizations such as NBA, MLB, and NHL shut down in effort to limit the exposure its fans and players have to the coronavirus, UFC will close its doors to the public and allow its athletes to compete. The promotion’s decision to keep hosting events amidst the worldwide coronavirus panic does raise some eyebrows but it always gives sports fans something to enjoy during this difficult time.

For the most part, UFC fighters are supporting the promotion in its quest to keep hosting events and working with commissions to make sure all athletes are evaluated properly before stepping inside of the cage. At the end of the day, MMA fighters are not like other professional athletes and do need to compete in order to make money for their families.

Look below to see what UFC fighters are saying about the promotion’s decision to keep the business going:

“Maybe I’m not the right person to ask but I’m happy ufc is finding ways to keep the fights going. Fighters fight and we need a way to feed our family. As long as health is in concern and we are safe to compete I’m all in. Hope we scoop up sum new fans being the only show in town,” wrote former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.

They closing all these professionals events for the safety of the the fans and the players who already have a set salary. But if the @ufc was to cancel there events the Athletes would NOT get paid a single dime. We only get paid to perform. Let them fight!” wrote light heavyweight contender Corey Anderson.

“I’m happy the @ufc is letting the show go on this is our passion and livelihood. This is already one of the most dangerous sports out there the fighters know the risk and we still fight . This is just one more risk added to the 100 other ones,Show must go on @danawhite,” wrote welterweight veteran Belal Muhammad.

“1000000% when we sign that contract we’re willing to die in there. Thank you @ufc @danawhite for finding a way to keep the business running despite the pandemic going on in this world. We are a different breed of athletes,” wrote rising featherweight prospect Dan Ige.

“BREAKING NEWS: Fighters like fighting! Also at the top of the hour pigs do not in fact fly,” wrote middleweight contender Gerald Meerschaert.

“Doesn’t matter where the fight is at, we’re still going to perform and put on the fun for the fans stuck at home. Happy that the @ufc found a way to make this happen at the UFC Apex. One of the most state of the art facilities in sports. Let’s go,” wrote former heavyweight title challenger Francis Ngannou.

“I’m good with fighting in an empty arena. Let’s not panic too crazy, let us fight, entertain the people stuck at home,” wrote lightweight veteran Kevin Lee, who fights this weekend at UFC Brasilia.

“Perform all canceled fight cards in the TUF cage with no audience. Won’t cost a penny and everyone will still watch on tv. Boom,” wrote women’s strawweight contender Angela Hill.

One fighter not interested in talking about fighting is current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who is spending his time thinking about ways to help families in the surrounding Albuquerque area:

UFC Brasilia will go down behind closed doors later tonight and be one of the only sports events taking place in the world this weekend. It will be headlined by a lightweight showdown between perennial contenders Kevin Lee and Charles Oliveira.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 170 fight card below, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 3 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN/ESPN+ main card start time at 6 p.m. ET.