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Coronavirus: UFC president White allays Khabib-Ferguson fears despite moving London event

By Sacha Pisani

Brasilia, March 15: UFC president Dana White said fights will go ahead despite coronavirus and travel restrictions forcing the organisation to seek new venues, as he allayed fears over Khabib Nurmagomedov's upcoming battle with Tony Ferguson.

The UFC Fight Night event in London is set to be moved after the United States expanded on travel restrictions to and from Europe, with the United Kingdom and Ireland now included amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley's bout with Leon Edwards was to headline Fight Night at the O2 Arena in London on March 21, however, the UFC is planning to relocate the event to the USA.

"Obviously, things are changing by the hour," White told ESPN. "This morning, they announced new travel restrictions for the U.K., so (the March 21 event) can't continue in London. But the fight will go on.

"We're working on finding a new venue, likely in the United States, and I have my matchmakers literally working right now to put together the undercard.

"As of now, fights can't happen at the Apex here in Las Vegas. So, we're working to find new locations, but the fights will go on; they will continue. We're not stopping."

There have been doubts over the UFC's next major pay-per-view event – UFC 249 in Brooklyn on April 18. All large gatherings of more than 500 people have been banned by New York amid a state of emergency.

The lightweight title blockbuster pitting Nurmagomedov against Ferguson is the main event and White insisted the showdown will take place somewhere.

"We had possibly a couple different venues for that fight, including Nevada," White said. "So, now the whole Nevada [the Nevada State Commission suspended all combat sports events in the state] thing went down, so we're looking for another venue. I hope by (Sunday morning), I should have two venue options for that fight.

"That fight will happen. It will go on. The fans are all freaking out about that, do not worry. Khabib versus Tony will happen."

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Story first published: Sunday, March 15, 2020, 11:50 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 15, 2020
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