UFC president Dana White has vowed for weeks to stage UFC 249 on April 18 despite the coronavirus pandemic. And on Monday, he tweeted that the event would be held on that date at a location “somewhere on Earth” featuring Tony Ferguson versus Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title.
The fight is signed and is 100% ON LIVE on ESPN somewhere on EARTH!!!! 😃@TonyFergusonXT vs @Justin_Gaethje is LIVE on @espn+ PPV April 18th for the interim lightweight belt! pic.twitter.com/aH44zg5K30— danawhite (@danawhite) April 6, 2020
But just getting the fight on became that much more difficult on Monday after the Association of Ringside Physicians released a statement calling for the suspension of all combat sports as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Though it seems to reason that the UFC will self-regulate the fight, as it often does in countries which do not have regulatory bodies, it can’t go forward without ringside physicians.
Whether anyone will be willing to work the show after the association released a statement hours after the UFC announced that Ferguson-Gaethje was on is unknown.
The Association of Ringside Physicians has been actively following the recommendations of the CDC as well as other professional medical societies concerned with the spread of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.
Sporting events across the world have been cancelled in response to the increased risk of infection and transmission by participants, fans, officials, and support staff.
It is our recommendation that all combat sporting events be postponed until further notice. This includes any and all events, regardless of the number of people involved. Any combat sport taking place during this global pandemic places the athletes, officials, and anyone else involved in the event under unnecessary risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19. In addition, combat sports athletes often require medical attention after a bout, and we do not wish to see any additional strain on an already overwhelmed medical system.
We continue to monitor this ever-evolving situation, and our thoughts continue to be with those who have been and will be affected by this disease.
Our organization remains steadfast in our mission: to serve, protect, and educate all involved in combative sports.
That does not mean that the event is off, or that some physicians won’t agree to work it. But it is another problem that White will need to solve before this card can be staged.
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