NSAC Suspends Some Combat Sports Events in Nevada, Will Revisit Issue March 25

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UFC Octagon Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has pulled the plug on combat sports under its jurisdiction for the foreseeable future [Update: For select events, see below]. NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett, in a statement to ESPN, confirmed the news Saturday — while a continent away, UFC Brasilia was playing out in an empty arena.

The move, of course, is a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has wreaked havoc in China, South Korea, and Italy, and has now arrived on North American shores.

In the statement to ESPN, Bennett wrote that: “I’ve been in constant contact with a litany of doctors and medical professionals and am intimately familiar with most professional and amateur sports events being suspended at this point in time for an undetermined period. I will continue to collect information and speak with various medical experts and be prepared to provide the information to the chairman and commissioners on March 25.”

A follow-up report by FOX 5 Las Vegas reporter Vince Sapienza clarified that only a pair of events had seen their permits revoked thus far.

Coincidentally, the March 25 date is just days ahead of UFC on ESPN 8, which was to be held in Columbus, Ohio on March 28. The event was then shifted to the UFC’s own Apex facility in Las Vegas, after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a ban on all mass gatherings in the state.

The UFC also has a show next weekend in London, England, with plans to push onward with the event. However, the U.K. has recently changed course and a mass gathering ban is anticipated to impact that card as well. Whether an empty arena show for that card is an option remains to be seen.

The UFC has not yet commented on the NSAC’s decision.

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