With earlier news that this upcoming weekend’s UFC London card had lost its headliner, the hits keep coming and it’s an avalanche of hurt.
While there was at least an attempt to relocate the main event, plans had fallen apart shortly thereafter. Now we have confirmation via various sources as well as social media (courtesy of MMAJunkie’s Mike Bohn).
These fights have been cancelled due to an inability to reschedule them in short order due to travel restrictions and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. The UFC even attempted a Hail Mary in the form of an internal e-mail that was circulating and released by Ariel Helwani in which fighters outside the UFC looking for a way in could possibly be used as last-minute talent.
This is an email they are sending out to managers and reps about this new card next week. As you can see, they are even open to signing fighters who currently aren’t on the roster to fill it up, as well. pic.twitter.com/qYcYCDvdyo
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 15, 2020
“This is an email they are sending out to managers and reps about this new card next week. As you can see, they are even open to signing fighters who currently aren’t on the roster to fill it up, as well.“
The fighters cutting weight and making travel arrangements were and still are stuck in an indefinite holding pattern until further notice. Ashlee Evans-Smith basically flew all the way to the UK for nothing, as she made her way back after putting her faith in the organization while on her way over.
Per Brett Okamoto:
Just spoke to UFC flyweight Ashlee Evans-Smith (@AshleeMMA), who is at the airport preparing to leave for UFC London.
“I am fully aware I am going to a foreign land to get in a fist fight without 100 percent assurance I can come home after without being quarantined.”
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 13, 2020
“Just spoke to UFC flyweight Ashlee Evans-Smith (@AshleeMMA), who is at the airport preparing to leave for UFC London. “I am fully aware I am going to a foreign land to get in a fist fight without 100 percent assurance I can come home after without being quarantined.” Wow.“
Followed by this:
Ashlee Evans-Smith on Instagram: “I’ve been in London for two days, actually only 24 hours on the ground. Anyway, fight’s off, postponed, all I really know is that I’ve got to get back to California, yesterday basically.”
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) March 15, 2020
“This is the way I’ve decided to live my life. If anyone knows me, I’m a risk taker. I’m young and healthy. I’m not that concerned about the virus. Manager has told me worst-case scenario, if I am quarantined, UFC will cover any expenses.”
That’s just a sample of the difficulties faced by fighters and the maneuvers the promotion has resorted to in their struggle to keep this event afloat despite the logistical complications and safety concerns.
So here’s a list of fights that have been cancelled, and two fights that have uncertain status at the time of this writing:
Marc Diakiese vs Jai Herbert
Jack Shore vs Geraldo de Freitas
Shavkhat Rakhmonov vs Bartosz Fabinski
Mike Grundy vs Makwan Amirkhani
Gabriel Benitez vs Lerone Murphy
Jake Collier vs Tom Aspinall
Molly McCann vs Ashlee Evans-Smith
John Phillips vs Dusko Todorovic
Kevin Holland vs Jack Marshman
Nicolas Dalby vs Danny Roberts
Tyron Woodley vs Leon Edwards
Paul Craig vs Ryan Spann
Darren Stewart vs Marvin Vettori
Vettori is reportedly planning to return to the United States after flying to the United Kingdom, per his manager Ali Abdelaziz. The goal is to keep him on the card against whomever his opponent ends up being.
While the O2 Arena will not be graced by this card, the event could not be moved to the UFC’s Apex facility due to a Nevada Athletic Commission moratorium on combat sports events that runs through at least March 25th.
So far, the decision to go on with events against conventional wisdom has not gone the way the UFC may have expected. An empty arena show in Brasilia is one thing, but a cancelled card with a slew of fights to be rescheduled and nowhere to slot them? Seems like they’ve painted themselves into a corner on this one, and we can only hope that fighters be compensated for their training camps and inconvenience.
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