Dana White last night confirmed UFC will move their next three scheduled events to new venues due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement comes just hours after the promotions staged UFC Fight Night 170 in Brasilia, Brazil behind closed doors in the 15,000 seater Ginásio Nilson Nelson Arena.
It is interesting to note none of the fighters were tested for COVID-19 virus by the CABMMA - the Brazilian MMA commission.
The UFC president told ESPN he has no intentions of cancelling any of their upcoming dates but is actively looking to relocate their next three slots to different venues.
"We’re working to find new locations, but the fights will go on - they will continue.”
He confirmed the scheduled UFC London card will be no longer.
White had hoped to move the March 21 (London), March 28 (Ohio) and April 11 (Portland) dates to the UFC's Apex facility in Las Vegas but that is no longer an option after the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to revoke combat sports licensing until March 25 .
Dana White says the UFC fights will continue.
“We’re not stopping. We will keep finding a way to put on the fights.” pic.twitter.com/7ixxpFjTSz
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 15, 2020
"The fights can’t happen here in Vegas, so we’re working to find new locations. We’ll keep finding a way to put on the fights. I’m in the fight business – I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and this stuff happens to me every weekend, so I’m used to this - not at this level, obviously but this is what we do. We always make sure the fights happen, and they are going to continue to happen,' White told ESPN's Sports Center.
White says many of the fights scheduled for the ex-London card will not take place, and that new fights will be added to the event with matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard working around-the-clock to ensure fights are added to the scheduled event.
A travel ban is set to be in place from UK to US starting at 4am Monday morning which would rule out many of the European based fighters from competing on the card, visa issues would also be a huge issue on such short notice.
Birmingham's Leon Edwards is scheduled to headline against former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. White says the headline fight will still go ahead as planned.
"I have my match makers working right now to put together the undercard. The bottom line is that fight is happening and that main event will go on."
The promotion have not confirmed if they'll pay show money to fighters that are removed from the card.
Below is the official press release from the WME-IMG owned promotion.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) March 15, 2020
UFC 249 : 'Khabib vs. Ferguson' will also take place according to the UFC President. That fight is scheduled for April 11 in Brooklyn's Barclays Centre. White confirmed that it will not take place in NY or Nevada but expects to have two new venue options later this evening.
“We are looking for another venue, probably by 10am tomorrow morning I'll have two new venue options. The fans are all freakin’ out about that. Do not worry; Khabib versus Tony will happen.”
“The fans are all freakin’ out about that. Do not worry; Khabib versus Tony will happen.”@danawhite says only a “total shutdown of the country” would lead to fight cards like #UFC249 being canceled. (via @SportsCenter) pic.twitter.com/pliGtv4wc1
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 15, 2020