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Report: Coronavirus forces UFC Brasilia to be held behind closed doors

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Globo reports that fans will be banned from attending UFC on ESPN+28 in Brasilia.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Cyborg vs Lansberg Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

According to Globo the threat posed by COVID-19 has forced this weekend’s UFC on ESPN+ 28 card in Brasilia to be held without any fans in the arena.

The event, which is headlined by Kevin Lee vs. Charles Oliveira is still scheduled to take place at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. There was suggestion that the event would be canceled entirely after Ibaneis Rocha, Brasilia’s governor, declared a ban on large gatherings.

As of this morning there are 69 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Brazil, two of those cases are in Brasilia.

The news of the event happening without fans follows the announcement that the UFC had canceled media day for UFC Brasilia (per MMA Fighting).

The UFC’s full statement on the media day cancellation is as follows:

Due to consideration of the government’s decree yesterday, Ultimate Media Day has been cancelled. Content featuring the athletes scheduled to fight in Saturday’s event will be captured and shared with credentialed media members in advance of the event.

It is unclear whether the UFC will proceed with their next event after UFC Brasilia, which is scheduled to take place in Columbus, Ohio on March 28th. On Wednesday Ohio governor Mike DeWine announced his state will likely soon move to ban large gatherings.

The decision to hold UFC Brasilia without fans in the arena mirrors many other sporting events which have occurred across the globe in recent weeks. Matches from world rugby’s Seven Nations tournament were held without fans in Italy. UEFA Champions League matches have also been held without fans. Yesterday it was announced that the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament would also take place without fans. COVID-19 has also lead to the suspension of the current NBA season.