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Association of Ringside Physicians urges indefinite suspension of all combat sports

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It’s a recommendation, not a mandate.

MMA: UFC 206-Holloway vs Pettis Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

On the same day that the UFC announced that UFC 249 will proceed as scheduled (location TBD), the Association of Ringside Physicians released a statement on its recommended course of action for combat sports promoters in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The full statement can be read below:

The Association of Ringside Physicians has been actively following the recommendations of the CDC as well as other professional medical societies concerned with the spread of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.

Sporting events across the world have been cancelled in response to the increased risk of infection and transmission by participants, fans, officials, and support staff.

It is our recommendation that all combat sporting events be postponed until further notice. This includes any and all events, regardless of the number of people involved. Any combat sport taking place during this global pandemic places the athletes, officials, and anyone else involved in the event under unnecessary risk of infection and transmission of Covid-19. In addition, combat sports athletes often require medical attention after a bout, and we do not wish to see any additional strain on an already overwhelmed medical system.

Again, it must be emphasized that an indefinite suspension of combat sports events is a recommendation and not a requirement; ARP is not a sanctioning body and has no jurisdiction to tell promoters what and what not to do.

This statement also doesn’t mean that physicians are barred from working UFC shows, but it once again hammers home the point that the UFC (Update: Evidently Cage Warriors, too!) is truly on its own in terms of wanting to operate as closely to normal at possible even during a crisis.