The Ultimate Fighting Championship may be forced to relocate an event soon given a state’s order regarding the coronavirus.
On Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued an order banning all large gatherings of 100 or more people in a single space in the state of Ohio. The governor went on to specify that this includes “auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, large conference rooms, meeting halls, cafeterias, or any confined indoor or outdoor space.” This proclamation will affect UFC Columbus on March 28 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The UFC has not commented on what it plans to do with its upcoming events, other than that UFC Media Day ahead of UFC Brasilia would not go on.
In response to this news, Combate reported on Thursday that the promotion has opted to relocate the event in its entirety from Ohio to Las Vegas. Instead of the Nationwide Arena, UFC on ESPN 8 will reportedly be held at the UFC Apex, which is home to Dana White's Contender Series. It will take place on the same date, and all fighters are expected to compete other than Cody Garbrandt, who withdrew from his match with Raphael Assuncao due to kidney issues.
This news follows the reports that UFC Brasilia will be held in an empty arena on Saturday with no fans allowed to attend. MMA organizations around the world have been scrambling to deal with the coronavirus, as Combate Americas and One Championship have delayed their schedules to put on crowdless events. Others including KSW and Ares FC have simply postponed them for months from now.
UFC on ESPN 8 takes place on March 28, and the event location is reportedly changing from Columbus, Ohio, to Las Vegas. Should it stay intact, it will be headlined by a heavyweight battle between knockout artists Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.