UFC London has been postponed indefinitely as a result of the coronavirus outbreak after a failed attempt to relocate the card to the United States.
UFC’s following two events – UFC Columbus and UFC Portland – have also been postponed due to the spread of the virus.
Last weekend, before a UFC event in Brasilia took place behind closed doors, the promotion’s president Dana White insisted the London card would go ahead on 21 March.
US president Donald Trump then announced a ban on travel between the US and UK, however, meaning headliner and former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley would be unable to compete against Birmingham’s Leon Edwards in London.
The decision was then made to move the event to the US, potentially at the UFC’s Apex institute, but that resulted in the majority of fights on the card needing to be replaced due to the originally planned presence of numerous British fighters. Some of those British fighters joined Cage Warriors’ London card – scheduled for Friday night – but that event has since been relocated to Manchester, where it is set to be held without a crowd in attendance.
Ultimately, White told UFC employees in an email that the London event and those in Columbus and Portland would be postponed indefinitely.
“My Crew, this has been a crazy couple of weeks,” White wrote.
“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 1 October shooting [in Las Vegas in 2017], 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 25 March.
“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.”
UFC Columbus was scheduled to be headlined by a heavyweight bout between Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, while UFC Portland was set to feature another heavyweight clash – Alistairs Overeem versus Walt Harris.