UFC Cancels Saskatoon, Austin Fight Night Events Because of COVID-19 Pandemic

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - MAY 16: A general view of the Octagon prior to the UFC Fight Night event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 16, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The UFC announced Thursday it was canceling its events originally scheduled for June 20 and 27 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The former was slated to take place at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, while the latter was supposed to emanate from Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

The UFC broadcasted three shows, including UFC 249, earlier this month from VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The venue was only a short-term solution, though, with UFC Fight Night 176 moving to UFC's Apex Facility in Las Vegas.

UFC President Dana White has also maintained the company plans to set up "Fight Island," where it could stage events and house fighters.

ESPN MMA @espnmma

“We really are putting an Octagon on the beach.” @danawhite describes what Fight Island will look like 🏝 (via @bokamotoESPN) https://t.co/jpGJ56Jz54

It's unclear whether the shows in Saskatoon and Austin have been scrapped altogether or whether they'll be held from a different location.

UFC 249 illustrated the strength of White's resolve when it comes to navigating around the pandemic. First, the New York State Athletic Commission refused to sanction the pay-per-view. Then, officials from the California government, ESPN and Disney intervened after White found a venue on tribal land in California.

Perhaps "Fight Island" will be up and running in time to salvage Thursday's discarded events.