The UFC held out as long as they could, however on Monday company president Dana White made the decision to postpone the organization’s next three scheduled events indefinitely.
White informed UFC employees of the decision via email, as first reported by UFC research analyst Michael Carroll.
An event originally scheduled to take place March 21 in London, England fell apart after new international travel restrictions were implemented by the United States government in light of the COVID-19 situation. The UFC initially announced the event would be relocated — with the new location to be determined — however the fluid nature of the ongoing global pandemic made piecing together an event on less than a week’s notice nearly impossible.
In addition to the March 21 event originally set to showcase Tyron Woodley vs. Leon Edwards, the UFC has postponed a March 28 event in Columbus headlined by heavyweight knockout artists Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik plus an April 11 card in Portland featuring Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris.
“We did everything we could to relocate our next three events– London, Columbus, and Portland,” the email, of which a copy was obtained by MMA Junkie, stated. “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.”
The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced over the weekend that all combat sports events will be suspended until March 25, which meant the UFC wouldn’t have been able to hold an event at its UFC APEX facility at company headquarters in Las Vegas.
Various tribal reservations in California or in Alabama were reportedly considered as possible locations for a short-notice event so the UFC could temporarily circumvent athletic commission rulings, but nothing came of that.
“The whole world is being affected right now, and nothing is more important than the health and safety of you and your families,” White continued in his email. “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 [UFC Performance Institute] will also be closed to all personnel, including athletes, during this time.”
The world’s top mixed martial arts promotion held a 12-fight card behind closed doors in Brasilia, Brazil this past weekend. It remains unclear when and where the next live event will take place.
UFC 249 featuring an anticipated lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is tentatively slated for April 18 in Brooklyn, N.Y., although the status of that event is also up in the air.
“UFC 249 is still scheduled as planned, but the location may change,” White added.