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 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.

Go deeper

Networks ax live TV audiences over coronavirus concerns

Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

Major television networks are abandoning audiences for their live shows in an effort to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus, networks confirmed on Wednesday.

The big picture: 2020 candidates are canceling political rallies out of concern for COVID-19, as sports leagues and teams take similar precautions by barring fans from some of the most highly anticipated sporting events of the year.

Go deeperArrowMar 12, 2020 - Health

PGA strikes $680 million TV rights deal with NBC, CBS, ESPN

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The PGA Tour has struck a 9-year rights deal with CBS Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN for around $680 million, Variety reports.

Why it matters: The value of distributing professional golf in the U.S. is increasing as more TV networks clamor to hold live sports rights. In the streaming era, live sports are keeping traditional TV alive.

Go deeperArrowMar 10, 2020 - Sports

Trump says he doesn't know anything about pandemic office his admin disbanded

President Trump said Friday he doesn't "know anything about" the White House pandemic office his administration disbanded in 2018.