Two mixed martial arts organizations announced plans to postpone or delay cards as UFC officials continue to try to move heaven and earth to put on a massive event in April.
Bellator MMA announced late Monday it would postpone three shows scheduled for May, while the Professional Fighters League will go on hiatus until a schedule for the organization’s formatted regular season and playoffs can be determined.
“Due to the ongoing safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as current federal, state and local government mandates, Bellator MMA officials today have announced that three upcoming live events scheduled for May have been postponed,” a statement from the organization read. “As always, the health and safety of our athletes, fans, partners and staff remains our top priority. We appreciate the understanding and patience of everyone involved during this incredibly difficult time.”
The organization plans to continue monitoring the situation to determine the best course for rescheduling the cards, which were slated for May 9 in San Jose, California, May 16 in London and May 29 in Temecula, California.
Bellator canceled an event on March 13 in Connecticut, just hours before the fights were set to begin. The organization had planned to do the show without fans, but opted to call it off instead.
The next card is now set for June 6 in Chicago.
Among the postponed May fights were a pair of title bouts. Light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader, a Reno native, was slated to defend his belt against Vadim Nemkov. Gegard Mousasi was scheduled to fight Douglas Lima for the vacant middleweight title.
The PFL had not yet announced dates for its schedule, but last year’s slate started in May with champions determined on New Year’s Eve in New York.
“The Professional Fighters League is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 global crisis closely and assessing its impact on the PFL 2020 Season,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said in a statement Monday night. “The health and safety of our fighters, fans, partners, and league personnel remain our top priority.
“In light of this unprecedented pandemic, we are adjusting our plan for the rest of this year and look forward to starting our next season as soon as it is feasible. We are committed to continuing to evolve and grow the sport of MMA.”
UFC officials are working to salvage a pay-per-view event scheduled for April 18. No venue has been announced after the original location in Brooklyn, New York was ruled out. Headliner Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is supposed to put his lightweight title on the line against Tony Ferguson, revealed Monday morning he unlikely will be able to travel from Russia, where he is locked down due to government regulations.