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UFC postpones next three events, closes offices through March 31st

Days after Dana White was undeterred in finding homes for UFC events amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, the promoter met his match Monday as he emailed employees telling them their next three shows have been canceled and the offices are closed through the end of the month.

Those three shows are this Saturday's event originally scheduled for London, England, the following Saturday headlined by Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and the following Saturday which featured Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris.

The UFC has yet to officially announce the cancellations as of this writing. The news was originally broken by FightMetric's Michael Carroll.

MMA Junkie ran the text of the email:

"My Crew,

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.

Thanks.
Dana"

White had spoken on SportsCenter several times about his desire to keep putting on cards despite the ongoing medical crisis. The company ran an empty arena show in Brasilia, Brazil, this past Saturday and were hoping to use their Las Vegas-based APEX facility for the aforementioned shows. However, a Nevada state mandate banning combat sports shows through March 25th, and a meeting on the 25th to determine extending that deadline, halted those efforts.

Assuming the cancellations hold, the next UFC show would be UFC 249, a show originally scheduled for Brooklyn, NY. They can't host the show due to a state large gathering mandate, and White said he had hoped to have two venues to choose from as of Sunday morning. Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson is set to headline.

Complicating that effort is the Center for Disease Control's suggestion that all mass gatherings of more than 50 people be canceled for the next eight weeks.