UFC London on the move, Tyron Woodley vs. Leon Edwards scratched

Ken Pishna
MMA Weekly
Tyron Woodley UFC 235 press conference
Tyron Woodley UFC 235 press conference

The fight card formerly known as UFC London is no more. UFC officials are still intent on hosting a Fight Night event on Saturday, March 21, but as of now, the location, venue, and bouts remain undetermined.

The UFC on ESPN+ 29 card in London was initially expected to pit former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley against Leon Edwards. With the lockdowns on large gatherings and international travel restrictions because of coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, it became nearly impossible for the UFC to consider keeping an event on U.K. soil.

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Even though UFC officials intend to hold a fight card on that date in the U.S., the restrictions also mean that next weekend's main event and a good portion of the rest of the fight card has been left in shambles.

Edwards and several other U.K. and European based fighters took to social media to note that they are without fights next week now that the card is on the move and travel restrictions stopping most of them from coming to the United States.

"Last night I went to sleep still with some hope that UFC London would continue next week.  I woke up this morning to the news that it won't be.  We have been working with the UFC on possible solutions to keep the fight alive, but unfortunately with such a short window of time, nothing was viable.  Myself and my team are all fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, and not all of us can leave our families right now.  I wish we could have found a way for the fans, I truly do," Edwards posted on Instagram on Sunday.

"I have been dreaming of headlining a UFC show in my home country since I started this sport.  This cancellation is truly heartbreaking.  I have never worked harder and never been more prepared for the biggest moment in my career.  But I know that the whole world is hurting right now and this is bigger than me, this is bigger than sports.  All I can hope for is  that all of you stay safe and look after each other as we get past this and move forward."

Tyron Woodley still wants to fight on March 21

Woodley told ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani that he still wants to fight, but is as much in the dark as everyone else right now. He indicated that he would like to fight Colby Covington next week. Covington and Gilbert Burns both offered to step in and take the fight with Woodley, but it remains to be seen what direction the UFC takes with this entire fight card, let alone the main event. 

Burns is coming off of a 2:34 victory over Demian Maia at Saturday's fight card in Brasilia, Brazil, which was the promotion's first without a live audience.

The situation is obviously extremely fluid, but UFC president Dana White on Saturday was insistent that he fully intended to move forward with the former UFC London event and the rest of the promotion's upcoming scheduled dates unless forced out of commission by a more strict government lockdown. 

“Unless there is a total shutdown of the country where people can’t leave their houses and things like that. Theses fights will happen. We’re going to move on and these guys are going to compete," White told ESPN.

"We will find venues and we will figure this thing out. The only thing that is going to stop us is a complete government shutdown where people are confined to their homes.”

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