The UFC had planned on holding a blockbuster event in London, England later this year, but according to reports, it appears those plans have been thwarted and changed.
MMA reporter Ariel Helwani reported that the UFC is in talks to change the location for the September 4th UFC Fight Night, headlined by middleweights Darren Till and Derek Brunson, back to the U.S. in Las Vegas from the originally planned O2 Arena in London.
The reasoning for the proposed move is still unknown, but it can be presumed it has to do with the surging delta variant of COVID-19 sweeping the globe. The promotion planned on having an event in London last year featuring a welterweight bout between contenders Tyron Woodley and Leon Edwards, but the event was cancelled near the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns.
The UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas has been a prominent venue for Fight Night events since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020 and has even hosted a number of pay-per-view events before the promotion returned to full capacity fights in Florida, Arizona and Nevada. An event hasn’t been held in London since the Darren Till vs. Jorge Masvidal card in 2019.
Though UFC president Dana White has said on numerous occasions that the UFC hopes to schedule events in the U.K. as quickly as possible, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to make things difficult for the sports world, despite all of the major sports returning to action and allowing fans to attend in at least a limited capacity.
The next two scheduled pay-per-views, UFC 265 and 266, will take place in Houston and Las Vegas, respectively. Upcoming UFC Fight Night events will remain at the Apex through at least the end of the year, as White reiterated this summer.
The news is surely disappointing for fight fans, especially those in Europe and more specifically England. But, as vaccination rates continue to rise worldwide, the closer the planet will return to some semblance of normalcy.
What is your reaction to the latest news regarding UFC London?