The UFC will be moving theirs event in Columbus, Ohio and Portland, Oregon to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
On Thursday, Brazilian news outlet Combate reported that the UFC’s event in Columbus, Ohio on March 28 is being moved to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Later in the afternoon, TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter reported that the UFC’s event in Portland, Oregon set for April 11 would be relocated as well.
Those reports have now been confirmed by the promotion.
UFC officials wrote the following in a statement Thursday:
UFC Fight Night: Ngannou vs. Rozenstruik, originally scheduled for Saturday, March 28, at Nationwide Arena, in Columbus, Ohio, will be relocated following the State of Ohio’s ban on large gatherings of 100 or more. In addition, UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris, originally scheduled for Saturday, April 11 at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, will be relocated following the State of Oregon’s ban on large public gatherings of 250 or more. These events will now take place in UFC APEX in Las Vegas on the same dates, Saturday, March 28, and Saturday, April 11, respectively. Both events will proceed with only essential personnel in attendance and without spectators. UFC is working directly with Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett on implementing a process to screen the competing athletes for the coronavirus to ensure their health and safety. These events are scheduled to be broadcast live on ESPN’s platforms here in the U.S., and by UFC’s media partners around the world.
We know many of our fans in Ohio and Oregon are disappointed, as are we. Ticket holders may seek a full refund at the point of purchase. We look forward to returning to Columbus and Portland at the earliest opportunity.
The move comes less than 24 hours after the NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS all suspended games indefinitely and states like California and Florida banned large gatherings over concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Not to mention Portland and Oregon.
The UFC Apex is best known for being the site of Dana White’s Contender Series. At this time it is unclear if other scheduled events, such as UFC 249, will also be relocated to the Apex amid precautions being taken to reduce the spread of the virus. New York declared a state of emergency earlier this week.
Also earlier this week, Ohio governor Mike DeWine imposed a ban on sporting events and large gatherings over the fear of coronavirus. Over the past several days, fears of the coronavirus have intensified worldwide with events such as the Coachella music festival, the E3 gaming convention, and SXSW convention all announcing the postponement of their events. The NBA took swift action last night after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 and suspended play just minutes before tip-off against the Oklahoma City Thunder with the arena already full of fans.
BREAKING: Per sources, UFC Fight Night in Portland, scheduled for April 11, is expected to be moved to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) March 12, 2020
The March 28 event is set to feature a heavyweight collision between top contenders Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The April 11 event was set to feature another heavyweight bout with Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris headlining the card.