In the wake of a flurry of canceled sports events, UFC president Dana White announced Thursday that the UFC Fight Night 170 event will proceed in an empty arena.
"Yesterday, the governor of Brazil issued a decree limiting the size of public events, so we are going to do the event live from Brasilia," White said. "You can't have over 100 people there, so we will just have the staff that's running the event inside the arena that night."
The event will take place March 14 in Brasilia, Brazil, with the lightweight bout between Kevin Lee and Charles Oliveira serving as the headliner. Earlier in the day, UFC announced that media would not be permitted to cover the weigh-ins on Friday.
UFC's next marquee event—UFC Fight Night 171—is slated for March 21 in London. White said that event is scheduled to proceed as planned, with fans in attendance.
"We're working closely with the government, if there are any changes over there," White said. "But as of now, that event is moving forward."
After the event in London, UFC's next event was originally going to take place in Columbus, Ohio. Earlier this week, Ohio governor Mike DeWine announced his plan to issue a ban on fans at indoor sporting events statewide. As a result, UFC will move the event to the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas.
Amid coronavirus concerns, several major American sports leagues have suspended their operations, including the NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS. The NCAA tournament was canceled on Thursday, just days before the 68-team men's field was set to be released.