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Leon Edwards out of fight with Tyron Woodley: ‘Not all of us can leave our families right now’

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With the Coronavirus forcing UFC London to America while borders are closing, Edwards has chosen to remain in the UK with his family.

UFC Fight Night 147 Saturday 16th March 2019 Photo by Pat Scaasi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

UFC London won’t be held in London any more, and if it goes ahead it will do so without one half of its original main event.

Leon Edwards was set to face Tyron Woodley in a 170 pound contender bout, but the British welterweight was forced to pull the plug on his participation in the fight after the UFC asked him to jump on a plane to the United States before a Coronavirus travel ban came into effect on Monday.

”Last night I went to sleep still with some hope that UFC London would continue next week,” Edwards wrote on Instagram. “I woke up this morning to the news that it won’t be. We have been working with the UFC on possible solutions to keep the fight alive, but unfortunately with such a short window of time, nothing was viable. Myself and my team are all fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, and not all of us can leave our families right now. I wish we could have found a way for the fans, I truly do.”

”I have been dreaming of headlining a UFC show in my home country since I started this sport,” he continued. “This cancellation is truly heartbreaking. I have never worked harder and never been more prepared for the biggest moment in my career. But I know that the whole world is hurting right now and this is bigger than me, this is bigger than sports. All I can hope for is that all of you stay safe and look after each other as we get past this and move forward.”

”I am humbled by the thousands of messages of support I have received in the hours since the announcement, I truly appreciate you all and feel a lot of love right now. I look forward to this event being rebooked when it is safe to do so, so Tyron and I can put on the show that you all deserve. Please take care, we will all get through this.”

”Rocky” is just the latest fighter to pull out of the former London card, which UFC president Dana White insists will go on unless the US government institutes a full lockdown where no one is allowed to leave their homes. With the Coronavirus spreading exponentially, things are looking grim enough that this is a real possibility sometime in the near future. With countries closing their borders and full airport shutdowns expected, it’s not surprising that Edwards wasn’t willing to travel away from his family.

But perhaps this opens the door for Gilbert Burns, who just knocked out Demian Maia on Saturday night at UFC Brasilia. “Durinho” declared shortly after that he’d be more than willing to face Woodley or Edwards next weekend.

For more information on the current state of the UFC London card that will be held March 21st in a location to be determined, click here.