MMA: One Championship suspends live events until May due to coronavirus

SINGAPORE – One Championship announced on Friday (March 13) it will move to closed-door, audience-free events as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation added it had suspended upcoming fights in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, scheduled for April 10 and 17, respectively.

This follows a March 6 statement that a live event in Ho Chi Minh City, originally scheduled for March 20, will be postponed to June.

One will now instead stage four behind-closed-door shows in Singapore on April 17 and 24, and May 1 and 8, and broadcast them globally.

It had also staged the King of the Jungle event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Feb 28 in similar fashion.

It plans to resume normal operations with a live event called Infinity 1 in Manila on May 29, but added this is “subject to change if the coronavirus situation deteriorates”.

One chairman and chief executive officer Chatri Sityodtong said: “Bar none, the safety of our fans, athletes, staff, partners, and the public is the highest priority for One Championship.

“We are operating in truly extraordinary times, but my team and I remain committed to providing the best sports and entertainment action available anywhere on global broadcast today.”

Other combat sports organisations worldwide have also reacted to the worsening Covid-19 situation.

United States’ Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) have decided to move ahead with its events but will not allow fans to attend, UFC president Dana White said on Thursday.

UFC has a Fight Night event in Brasilia, Brazil, scheduled for Saturday. There are 77 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the South American nation.

Boxing promotion Top Rank, meanwhile, cancelled two events, scheduled to take place on Saturday and next Tuesday in New York City. It had earlier announced plans to proceed with the events, which include a World Boxing Organization (WBO) world title fight, behind closed doors.

Top Rank made the decision after consulting with the New York State Athletic Commission, which oversees boxing and combat sport events in the American state, which have over 300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

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