Whatever the UFC’s plans are for the next two months, if they want to get back to hosting fights, they’re probably going to have to do so outside the purview of US state athletic commissions. Otherwise, it seems likely that they’re going to keep running up against situations like the one’s they’ve faced in Ohio, Oregon, and now California.
Bloody Elbow reached out to the California State Athletic Commission concerning the UFC’s upcoming plans to host an event in San Diego on May 16th. An event expected to be headlined by a lightweight top contender’s bout between Dan Hooker and Dustin Poirier.
“Based on guidance issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to protect Californians against the possible spread of COVID-19, the California State Athletic Commission is canceling events through the end of May 2020,” Assistant Executive Officer Sophia Cornejo wrote in a statement to Bloody Elbow.
“The Commission didn’t take this decision lightly and understands the potential economic loss to promoters and the industry of combative sports. We had to weigh the best interest of our fighters and the community around us. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued guidance that certain types of gatherings be postponed or canceled to protect public health and slow the rate of COVID-19 transmission. The recommendation applies to all nonessential professional, social, and community gatherings.”
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the fight card won’t happen, in some iteration, somewhere. But wherever it does take place (if it does) it won’t be in California.
Outside of UFC 249, which White & Co. have been working overtime to save, the UFC has three other events planned between their April 18th PPV and their May event in San Diego. Fight cards in Lincoln Nebraska, Oklahoma City, and another PPV in Sao Paulo, Brazil. That any of those are events would be actually viable to go ahead as planned seems unlikely. Hopefully the next couple weeks will give a little extra clarity on what the UFC’s plans are and if they’ve truly found a solution to moving forward with their 2020 scheduled fight cards.