The UFC has officially postponed its next three events, the last of which was scheduled to take place on April 11, due to the ever-growing impact of the coronavirus.
UFC president Dana White alerted his entire staff of the decision on Monday, via email. According to White, the company was prepared to do anything it took to move forward with three UFC Fight Night events on March 21, 28 and April 11, however the White House’s recommendation on Tuesday to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people made hosting events impossible.
“As you’ve 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,” White wrote in the email, which ESPN obtained a copy of. “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.”
In addition to postponing the events, the UFC has closed its executive offices in Las Vegas.
Beyond April 11, the UFC’s next pay-per-view event is scheduled to take place on April 18 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The UFC 249 main event features a highly anticipated lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) and Tony Ferguson (25-3). According to the email, the UFC still plans on promoting that event for now, either in New York or elsewhere.
Until Monday, the UFC was one of the last sports organizations in the world that had put off suspending play. The UFC held a UFC Fight Night event last Saturday in Brasilia, Brazil, in an empty arena. Saturday’s event was originally supposed to take place in London, but the UFC had already canceled those plans due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and U.K.
The UFC’s original plan was to move the events to its Apex facility in Las Vegas, the site of its Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series. Those plans were nixed last weekend, however, when the Nevada State Athletic Commission temporarily suspended all combat sports in the state.