The implications of the coronavirus stretch far beyond the actual illness itself, as a multitude of upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship matchups are now off the table.
On Thursday, Combate reported that Jose Aldo would no longer be able to compete at UFC 250 due to visa issues. The event was previously scheduled to take place at the Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, but the card was forcibly relocated when the arena was converted into a hospital.
It has since been reported that UFC 250 would move to the United States, and a potential destination is the Tachi Palace Casino in Lemoore, Calif. Providing UFC 250, and several other announced events, are being relocated to the U.S., a plethora of Brazilian fighters will not be able to compete stateside.
Aldo, along with 13 other compatriots from Brazil, are unable to get their work visas renewed in the U.S., thus the matchups are effectively canceled. On UFC 250 alone, seven different fighters including Aldo are affected by this: Aldo, Mauricio Rua, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Ketlen Vieira, Augusto Sakai, Bethe Correia and Carlos Felipe.
In addition to those UFC 250 fights that will no longer proceed as scheduled, several other matchups have been scratched as a result of these visa issues. Neither Ariane Carnelossi nor Raphael Pessoa will be able to compete at the UFC Fight Night card on April 25. Marina Rodriguez and Vanessa Melo cannot appear at the UFC Fight Night scheduled for May 2. Finally, three fighters of the May 16 UFC Fight Night event will not be able to come up to the U.S. to fight: Ariane Lipski, Luana Carolina and Lara Fritzen Procopio.
Dear @HenryCejudo,— Dominick Cruz (@DominickCruz) April 9, 2020
The real king has already been told that we’re fighting May 9th. I’ll see you there.
P.S. -Bring your other tiny lil friend @cptdasamericas so I can slap you both around.
-Signed, Sealed, Delivered-
With Aldo out of the UFC 250 headliner matchup, the promotion is considering a replacement in the form of Dominick Cruz. The former bantamweight champ called his shot on Twitter late Wednesday night, writing, “Dear @HenryCejudo, the real king has already been told that we’re fighting May 9th. I’ll see you there. P.S. -Bring your other tiny lil friend [Eric Albarracin] so I can slap you both around. -Signed, Sealed, Delivered-“
Cruz has been inactive since December 2016, when he surrendered his bantamweight throne to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207. The loss snapped a 13-fight win streak that included victories over Demetrious Johnson, T.J. Dillashaw, Joseph Benavidez twice and Urijah Faber twice. Since losing the belt, Cruz suffered a litany of injuries including a broken arm, a shoulder injury and plantar fasciitis along with tendinitis in his feet.
Cejudo is on an impressive five-fight win streak that has seen him capture the flyweight and bantamweight titles. Most recently, Cejudo finished Marlon Moraes in the third round at UFC 238 to win the vacant 135-pound belt and become the fourth fighter to hold two UFC belts simultaneously. In December, Cejudo relinquished his flyweight strap, with plans on staying at bantamweight. His first defense was against Aldo, but now both he and Cruz have verbally agreed to face off at an undisclosed location on May 9.
« Previous The Coronavirus Chronicles: Adam Piccolotti Next Calif. Senator Dianne Feinstein Calls for UFC to Delay UFC 249 at Tachi Palace Casino »