The oldest adage in entertainment is that ‘The Show Must Go On,’ and despite mounting concerns surrounding the spread of coronavirus, one of this main event fighters for this weekend’s UFC Brasilia card, firmly agrees.
On Saturday at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil, Kevin Lee is expected to face Charles Oliveira in a highly anticipated lightweight clash. However, this week has been a tumultuous one for sporting events as the rapid spread of coronavirus has led to a number of responses from both sporting associations and governments meant to curb the global pandemic. In the past week, the NBA suspended their season, as did the NHL, the NCAA cancelled both the basketball and wrestling tournaments, New York City declared a state of emergency and banned large gatherings, and of course, the governor of Brasilia issued a decree suspending sporting events.
While all of this happened, the UFC remained noticeably quiet about how things would proceed this weekend, and in that silence, Kevin Lee took it upon himself to argue for letting the show proceed, even if that meant fighting in an empty arena.
I’m good with fighting in an empty arena. Let’s not panic too crazy, let us fight, entertain the people stuck at home. #UFCBrasilia— Kevin MTP Lee (@MoTownPhenom) March 12, 2020
Let us fight for da people-Yoel Romero— Kevin MTP Lee (@MoTownPhenom) March 12, 2020
Ultimately, Lee got his wish. On Thursday, Dana White finally made announcements regarding the UFC’s plans for a number of upcoming fights potentially affected by the coronavirus, declaring that UFC Brasilia would take place behind closed doors with only service staff allowed in the arena. And for Lee, that works out just fine. In fact, “The MoTown Phenom” is staying positive and choosing to look at the silver lining of the entire scenario.
“I think the fight should go on,” Lee told Ariel Helwani. “It’s important that we show we’re not gonna stop living. If it’s in front of empty seats, that’s cool with me, it honestly makes the fight bigger. Especially with the NBA shutdown, this is gonna be one of the most watched fights ever. It’s gonna be like old-school martial arts days, you just gonna hear the punches and kicks, and when I hit Oliveira, the whole world gonna feel it.”
It certainly could be true. With many people choosing to self-quarantine and most major sports having suspended competition, the UFC may have a monopoly on sports content over the weekend. Whether that’s worth the risk of continuing to allow fighters to train, cut weight, and compete is another thing entirely though. The number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Brazil has doubled within the last 24 hours and continuing to hold sporting events certainly increases the potential for spreading the virus.
Then again, the show must go on.
Tone deaf. Dana White details UFC’s coronavirus plan: ‘Instead of panicking, we’re working with doctors’.
Coronavirus. UFC Brasilia to go on behind closed doors after coronavirus decree.
Coronavirus. ONE Championship moves to closed door events for all upcoming shows due to coronavirus outbreak.
Coronavirus. State of Ohio issues order banning crowds over 100 people at all upcoming events including UFC on ESPN 8.
Demian Maia interview.
The Thrill and the Agony.
Dana on SportsCenter.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Durinho still excited.
Doesn't matter where the fight is at, we're still going to perform and put on the fun for the fans stuck at home. Happy that the @ufc found a way to make this happen at the UFC Apex. One of the most state of the art facilities in sports. Let’s go #areyounotentertained— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) March 13, 2020
BREAKING NEWS: I have decided to turn all events for ONE Championship into closed-door, audience-free events effective immediately. Bar none, the safety of our fans, athletes, staff, partners, and the public is the highest priority for ONE Championship. https://t.co/piL5ITQ5WE— Chatri Sityodtong (@yodchatri) March 12, 2020
Good guy Jon Jones.
Schools in Albuquerque are out for the next three weeks, can’t help but to sympathize for all the single parents out there completely lost on what to do. no school, no daycare and probably no job soon. This shit is scary— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) March 13, 2020
Trying to figure out ways I can help some of these parents in Albuquerque, feel free to send suggestions.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) March 13, 2020
I could give two shits about fighting right now, this is bigger than sports https://t.co/4XQf6XHXe0— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) March 13, 2020
View this post on Instagram
Я вообще не понимаю, что происходит за пределами зала, у меня такая же информация как и у всех. Я в зале и я готовлюсь, что будет дальше ни кто не знает. - I don’t understand what is going on outside the gym. I am in the gym and I am working hard. What will happen next no one knows. #ufc249 #ufcBrooklyn #andstill @frujuice_athletics
Asking the important questions.
I wonder if all the guys on the sauce are being affected by the corona virus Like are the supply and demand prices off the charts right now? It must be tough getting shipment with everything slowly locking down...— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) March 13, 2020
It would appear Joanna’s face still has some healing to do.
View this post on Instagram
So happy to have my family with me❤️ Love ya sis @ostrowska_kasia Miss ya Ewa So you know ♀️ I have the best sisters in the world ♀️ They are always on my side What about your siblings Guys? ♀️ #jedrzejczykfamily #familyfirst #sister #sisters #twins #twinsister #twinsisters #beverlyhills #polishgirls
Statement on fight cancellation.
View this post on Instagram
To have a comeback, you have to have a setback. With that being said I am extremely sorry to Polyana and her team. I can’t convey how sorry I truly am. Thank you so much to everyone that reached out. It really meant a lot to me. I’m so thankful for all your kind words. That was a actual living nightmare. It still doesn’t feel real. I had a normal amount to cut and never experienced something like that. All I can think is a couple weeks ago my white blood cell count was very high and I had to get extra test ran. I thought I pulled it together. But that was not the case and when the cut began it was clear. All I can do now is move forward and keep working. Again I’m so so sorry to anyone I let down. Fighting has given me purpose and worth in life and feeling like I failed at that is a hard one to swallow. I’ll be back healthy and better than ever
1 roll $4 or 3 rolls for 10$. DM me for TP. I just reupped. pic.twitter.com/xD4jbYBsdO— Grand Slam Champ Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) March 13, 2020
I seriously don’t think fans recognize how lame USADA is.
I’d like to just give a quick shoutout @usantidoping. They text me pretty much everyday, which is more than any of my other friends, and then on top of that, they even swing by for surprise visits every now and then to make me feel special☺️☺️#spoiled #bffs ♂️ pic.twitter.com/gNtaEBmp24— Chase Hooper (@chase_hooper) March 13, 2020
Thanks for reading and see y’all on Monday.
Who wins this weekend?
This poll is closed
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.