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Morning Report: Kevin Lee on fighting this weekend despite Coronavirus concerns: ‘With the NBA shutdown, this is gonna be one of the most watched fights ever’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

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.

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. Bellator 241 to proceed as planned without fans in attendance.

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.

Out. Cody Garbrandt out of UFC on ESPN 8 co-main event with Raphael Assuncao.


Demian Maia interview.

The Thrill and the Agony.

Dana on SportsCenter.

All Maxcess.


Durinho still excited.

Francis Ngannou.

Chatri’s statement.

Good guy Jon Jones.


Asking the important questions.

It would appear Joanna’s face still has some healing to do.

Statement on fight cancellation.


I seriously don’t think fans recognize how lame USADA is.




Thanks for reading and see y’all on Monday.



Who wins this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Kevin Lee
    (514 votes)
  • 35%
    Charles Oliveira
    (289 votes)
803 votes total Vote Now

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