Despite numerous professional sporting leagues canceling or postponing events due to the coronavirus, the UFC intends to keep its schedule. While travel restrictions will prevent the MMA promotion from holding Saturday’s Fight Night 171 in London, the company is still looking to forge ahead with new plans.
The UFC has reportedly started searching for replacement fighters who can be ready on short notice, according to MMA Fighting. With the United States’ travel ban going into effect Monday, some fighters who were supposed to compete in London will be unable to travel to the U.S. to take part in the rescheduled event. The U.S. travel ban includes the United Kingdom.
UFC has yet to announce where it will hold Fight Night 171. It won’t be Nevada, as the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended all combat sports through Mar. 25.
Colby Covington says he’ll fight Tyron Woodley
At least one UFC fighter is ready to step in as a replacement. On Monday, Colby Covington told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani cutting weight wouldn’t be an issue.
Covington: I could make 171 this week. I stay in shape year around. It would be an easy weight cut for me.— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) March 16, 2020
Covington, 32, has been rumored as an opponent for Tyron Woodley. The 37-year-old Woodley was expected to headline UFC Fight Night 171 against Leon Edwards. The 28-year-old Edwards had to withdraw from the fight due to the travel ban.
Upon hearing Edwards was out, Covington called out Woodley. Covington wasn’t the only fighter to do that. Gilbert Burns also offered to take Edwards’ place. Woodley reportedly turned down Burns’ offer.
The UFC still needs to figure out the logistics behind moving the event, but the company appears motivated to make UFC Fight Night 171 happen. UFC president Dana White said it would take a “total shutdown of the country” for UFC to stop holding events.
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