The UFC suffered more unwanted press ahead and after UFC Fight Night on Saturday, September 5th. The mixed martial arts promotion had to cancel a series of bouts scheduled for the show. In the end, UFC Fight Night only featured seven bouts, the fewest on one of the promotion’s fight cards since 2005.

UFC has come a long way in 15 years and many current fans may not be able to even fathom a time in which only seven bouts appeared on a single show. In the fall out from UFC Fight Night, it has been announced the MMA promotion will return to Fight Island in Dubai for UFC 253 and four subsequent shows. MMA fans can use this betting bonus code to wager on the fights at UFC 253 and bet on the fighter they believe will win.

What happened at UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai?

A number of fight cancelations occurred ahead of UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai on September 5. In a rather embarrassing lead-up to the show, heavyweight Marcos Rogerio De Lima’s match against Alexander Romanov was canceled with just 90 minutes to go before bell time of the first bout. In addition, UFC was forced to cancel a lightweight bout between Thiago Moises and Jalin Turner.

UFC wasn’t finished in canceling bouts. A third move came from the promotion as featherweight Kevin Natividad was removed from his match against Brian Kelleher. According to an official UFC statement, the change was cited “as a precaution”. Kelleher fought Ray Rodriguez on short notice instead.

The show’s card was troubled even before Saturday. Two bouts had been canceled in the days leading up to the show. Sijara Eubanks and Karol Rosa were pulled from the card on Thursday due to medical complications from the latter cutting weight. Rosa had been a late replacement for Macy Chiasson, who was pulled from the bout for medical reasons.

Kelleher and Ricky Simon’s bout was called off last week after a cornermen from Simon’s team tested positive for COVID-19.

The UFC was vague on the cancelations of the fights, but word has emerged since the completion of the show that each alteration may have been done due to positive COVID-19 tests.

What are UFC’s plans for future shows?

It is safe to say that the UFC was left embarrassed by the positive COVID-19 tests. When the promotion returned in May, it endured issues with one fighter and his team testing positive for COVID-19 right from the start. Since then, the promotion has fared better.

There are some in the sports media to call UFC brazen for continuing on with shows on a nearly weekly basis. Others have praised the promotion for their testing and reactions to fighters testing positive for the virus.

The cancelations of fights due to positive COVID-19 tests has led to the promotion moving back to the Middle East’s Fight Island rather than holding shows in Las Vegas at UFC Apex. Two of the shows that will be held on Fight Island are UFC 253 on September 26 and UFC 254 on October 24.

In July, UFC held four successful events on Fight Island. But Fight Island isn’t just a promising locale for UFC to hold shows. The United Arab Emirates have – and will continue – used the shows to promote itself as a post-COVID pandemic vacation spot. The relationship between the UFC and UAE is set to grow further.

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