Mar 15, 2020 - Sports

UFC holds fight night in empty arena during coronavirus outbreak

Charles Oliveira of Brazil secures a guillotine choke submission against Kevin Lee
Charles Oliveira of Brazil secures a guillotine choke submission against Kevin Lee on March 14. Photo: Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC

UFC held a fight on Saturday night in an empty arena in Brazil, becoming one of the few major professional sports leagues to continue live events in the wake of the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus a pandemic.

Why it matters: “We’re not stopping,” UFC president Dana White said on ESPN. "We will keep finding a way to put on the fights. I’m in the fight business. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, and this stuff happens to me every weekend — obviously not at this level.”

  • “Unless there’s a total shutdown of the country where people can’t leave their houses and things like that, these fights will happen,” he continued. “We will find venues and we will figure this out. The only thing that’s going to stop us is a complete government shutdown where people are confined to their homes.”

What to watch: White plans to hold four more fight cards over the next five weekends, including a highly anticipated April 18 matchup between lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson that has previously been canceled four other times.

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