The UFC takes another big hit after to salvage the UFC Fight Night 171 card this Saturday. The main event between Leon Edwards and Tyron Woodley is now canceled due to travel restrictions and the coronavirus on the part of Edwards. Edwards shared a statement on Instagram discussing protecting the wellness of himself and his team as well as travel restrictions in England.
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Last night I went to sleep still with some hope that UFC London would continue next week. I woke up this morning to the news that it won't be. We have been working with the UFC on possible solutions to keep the fight alive, but unfortunately with such a short window of time, nothing was viable. Myself and my team are all fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, and not all of us can leave our families right now. I wish we could have found a way for the fans, I truly do. I have been dreaming of headlining a UFC show in my home country since I started this sport. This cancellation is truly heartbreaking. I have never worked harder and never been more prepared for the biggest moment in my career. But I know that the whole world is hurting right now and this is bigger than me, this is bigger than sports. All I can hope for is that all of you stay safe and look after each other as we get past this and move forward. I am humbled by the thousands of messages of support I have received in the hours since the announcement, I truly appreciate you all and feel a lot of love right now. I look forward to this event being rebooked when it is safe to do so, so Tyron and I can put on the show that you all deserve. Please take care, we will all get through is. Rocky
The UFC is trying to continue to defy the best practices to stop the spread of the coronavirus and protect the well being of the fighters. In defense of the UFC, it held UFC Fight Night 170 in Brasilia, Brazil in an empty arena and the fighters wanted to compete knowing the situation that is existing. The UK has announced a ban of mass gatherings on March 14, which eliminates the possibility of UFC Fight Night 171 being held in London, England. The UFC is still looking to have UFC Fight Night 171 happen but hasn’t announced a location.
The UFC will have their hands full on trying to save UFC Fight Night 171. Not only would they have to find a new opponent for Woodley in the main event, but they have to create multiple fights on the card. MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn reports that thirteen fights that were on this card are now canceled. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reports that the UFC is looking for people willing to fight on short notice either under contract or not under contract.
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
Woodley is looking to stay on the card and Colby Covington claimed he wanted to fight Woodley this weekend. However, Woodley denies that Covington wants to fight. It is rumored now according to BJPenn.com’s Cole Shelton that Rafael Dos Anjos is a potential opponent that can step to fight Woodley.
— Cole Shelton (@ColeShelton91) March 16, 2020
The UFC seems committed to putting on fight cards no matter what. As of now, UFC Fight Night 171 is not canceled and is being worked on.