March 13, 2020
In a switch, the UFC March 13 announced it would not cancel scheduled mixed martial arts events, becoming the first professional sports organization to continue business as usual despite the growing coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on ESPN, Dana White, president of the UFC, the world’s largest MMA promoter, said his decision was made after consulting with President Trump.
“I talked to the president and vice president of the United States today about this and they’re taking this very serious and they’re saying, ‘be cautious and be careful but live your life and stop panicking,'” White told the Disney-owned sport channel.
UFC is slated to hold “UFC Fight Night 170” on March 14 in Brazil with no spectators allowed in the venue.
White said the UFC continues to “closely” monitor the situation and the potential impact of the coronavirus on athletes, staff and fans.
Brazil has confirmed eight cases of the virus through March 12, including the first instances of local transmission, according to the Health Ministry.