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UFC forced to postpone its next 3 shows but says Khabib title fight will go on


LAS VEGAS — The UFC is postponing its next three fight cards in the wake of the latest restrictions in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The televised MMA shows were originally slated for March 21 in London, March 28 in Columbus, Ohio, and April 11 in Portland. The UFC initially planned to shift them to the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas behind closed doors due to local authorities' restrictions on crowds.

But it was forced to look elsewhere after the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted to suspend all combat sports events in the state.

The mixed martial arts promotion held a Fight Night card Saturday in Brazil but without spectators.

UFC president Dana White told ESPN SportCenter that he had planned to hold a show Saturday at FireLake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma. That was until President Trump's news conference Monday when further guidelines on crowds were cited.

"Now they're saying there should be no more than 10 in a room and that's impossible," White said. "We can't do it. We've complied with everything that the government and that these doctors have said to do. We have no choice but to postpone these (three) fights."

White said UFC 249, a high-profile card featuring lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov against No. 1 contender Tony Ferguson, will also go on at a yet-to-be-announced venue. The card was originally slated for April 18 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"We're hoping this all clears up by April," White told SportsCenter. "This fight's going to happen. No crowd but whatever it takes — probably not in the United States but this fight's going to happen."

Alberta heavyweight Tanner (The Bulldozer) Boser was on the March 28 card, originally slated for Columbus. Victoria welterweight Tristan (Boondock) Connelly was on the April 11 show originally scheduled for Portland.

"We're going to continue on," White promised. "And these three fights that are postponed, they will still happen. And Khabib-Tony is on for the original date. We're going to keep fighting."


This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press