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Leon Edwards out of Tyron Woodley fight after UFC London moves to the United States

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The coronavirus pandemic and the UFC’s response to it has directly led to a main event cancellation.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-San Antonio-Dos Anjos vs Edwards Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

To the surprise of no one, the UFC’s decision to move its London show to a location TBD has resulted in total upheaval of its lineup.

British welterweight contender Leon Edwards confirmed in a statement on Instagram that he will not fight former champion Tyron Woodley in the March 21st main event, which will evidently now happen somewhere in the United States.

“Last night I went to sleep still with some hope that UFC London would continue next week,” Edwards wrote. “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 [this].

Rocky”

The United Kingdom was recently added to President Trump’s European travel ban as part of his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani has more details on the cancellation:

Edwards opted not to fly to America amid the spread of the coronavirus and the travel bans implemented by the United States and the United Kingdom. With no guarantee where the event would take place and no guarantee that he’d be able to get back home next week, plus, with some of his cornermen not having the proper documentation to fly at this time, the call was made for Edwards to stay home.

You would think that the UFC would pull the plug on this card given the last-minute scrambling they’ve willingly decided to do, but not only do they want to keep this fight card together—tribal lands in California and Alabama are apparently options, seeing as they’re not beholden to state commissions—they are contacting MMA managers to see if any fighters want to scrap at a location TBD on just days’ notice. I am not making this up.

Per Helwani’s article, this was a message sent from the UFC to MMA managers and reps:

“Because we are moving this event to the U.S. next weekend, there will be a number of open spots on that card. If you have anyone currently under UFC contract, from bantamweight to welterweight, who wants a short notice fight, please let me know. If you have any UFC vets or fighters ready for UFC on a week’s notice, please let me know. DO NOT email me about anyone who is not a US CITIZEN or does not have A CURRENT P1 VISA.”

I do not know what else there is to say.