Saturday’s scheduled UFC Fight Night event in Brasilia, Brazil will go on as planned, although fans will not be permitted to attend.
According to multiple reports out of Brazil, the event at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium will be held without spectators in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The UFC had not made an official statement as of 5:30 p.m. ET and the company had been steadily promoting the event throughout the day on their various social media channels.
The UFC cancelled Thursday’s media day in Brasilia after government officials announced it was suspending events with gatherings of more than 100 people until at least March 16. Friday’s ceremonial weigh-ins were also cancelled.
Saturday’s scheduled main event is a contest between lightweight contenders Kevin Lee and Charles Oliveira. Lee has been vocal in recent days expressing his desire to fight regardless of how many people are in the stands.
“It doesn’t matter if we are fighting in front of 55,000 or 10 people I’m putting the same beating on him.” – Kevin @MoTownPhenom Lee talks about his upcoming main event showdown with Charles Oliveira in Brazil #UFCBrasilia pic.twitter.com/pZtj63TIwe
— UFC News (@UFCNews) March 12, 2020
The NBA and NHL are among the many professional sports leagues that have suspended play indefinitely as a precautionary measure in response to growing COVID-19 concerns.
The UFC has three scheduled events on three different continents over the next three weeks: Saturday’s UFC Brasilia; a March 21 event in London, England featuring welterweight contenders Tyron Woodley and Leon Edwards; plus, a March 28 event in Columbus, Ohio headlined by heavyweight knockout artists Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
Sending good vibes to my fellow @ufc staffers who are on the road in Brasilia and London right now. We are truly one, big traveling family and I’m thinking of every last one of ya! Stay safe out there!
— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) March 12, 2020
The UFC isn’t the only combat sports promotion impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Bellator 241 is scheduled to take place Friday in Uncasville, Conn., however no fans will be permitted inside the Mohegan Sun Arena after Connecticut’s governor declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus. That card is headlined by featherweight champion Patricio Freire defending his title against Pedro Carvalho.
Popular Polish promotion KSW recently cancelled its upcoming event in Lodz and Chatri Sityodtong, the founder and CEO of ONE Championship, announced Thursday that all events will be audience-free for the foreseeable future. Glory Kickboxing postponed its next two events and a PBC boxing event scheduled for Saturday has been postponed as well.