Bellator officials on Friday made a last-minute decision to cancel its Bellator 241 event slated for the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
The move came after the promotion had already held weigh-ins on Thursday and made the decision to hold the event without a live audience in the 10,000-seat arena.
Bellator president Scott Coker posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon, saying, "The health and safety of everyone involved have, and will remain, our top priority as we move forward. After carefully monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Bellator MMA has chosen to postpone this evening’s Bellator 241 event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
"We would like to apologize to our athletes and fans, as well as our broadcast partner DAZN, but we feel this is the best decision to be made at this time."
This was a significant move by Bellator, as Friday's fight card was topped by two Featherweight Grand Prix bouts, including 145-pound champion Patricio "Pitbull" Freire putting his belt on the line opposite Pedro Carvalho in the main event.
The cancellation of Bellator 241 comes on the heals of UFC on ESPN+ 28 moving behind closed doors in Brasilia, Brazil, for Saturday's event, which is currently still planned to move forward. ONE Championship recently announced that all of its near-term live events would move to audience-free broadcast only events at least through the end of May.
Several other promotions, such as Shamrock FC and Unified MMA, cancelled events in the wake of a growing lockdown on public gatherings in response to fears about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The World Health Organization has the following advice for the public to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) :
Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
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Practice respiratory hygiene
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Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
The Center for Disease Control also warns that older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.