The UFC badly wanted to keep its upcoming fight schedule going even after the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak had rocked the entire world last week, but now it looks like the company’s plan has changed into something more like what just about every other major sports organization in the world is doing.
According to Michael Carroll, citing an email sent by UFC president Dana White to all UFC employees (including Carroll), the UFC finally decided to postpone its upcoming fight schedule.
MMA Junkie obtained a copy of the full email from White to his UFC staff.
It reads as follows:
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.
Hope Remains for UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson
While things look bleak as far as action goes over the next couple months, hope still remains that Dana White and company will figure out a way for the next scheduled pay-per-view event to take place.
UFC 249 is scheduled for April 18 and features the long-coveted showdown between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. According to the email White sent out to his workforce on Monday, the company still plans on keeping UFC 249 on its schedule at this point, though it will need a new location.
Regardless, UFC 249 might still be on the horizon, and that’s better than the alternative. In fact, White went on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Monday to reveal he’s going to do everything he can to make UFC 249 happen.
So there might not be any UFC fights over the next two months, but there’s still a huge fight on the horizon to keep getting hyped about.
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