One day after announcing the show would go on inside an empty arena, Bellator MMA officials have switched gears in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Just hours before Friday's Bellator 241 card was set to take place inside the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, Bellator president Scott Coker confirmed on social media the original report from Fightful that the card will be postponed to a future date.
The health and safety of everyone involved have, and will remain, our top priority as we move forward. After carefully monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, @BellatorMMA has chosen to postpone this evening’s Bellator 241 event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) March 13, 2020
"We would like to apologize to our athletes and fans, as well as our broadcast partner DAZN, but we feel this is the best decision to be made at this time," Coker later tweeted.
The card was scheduled to be headlined by a featherweight title bout between defending champion Patricio "Pitbull" Freire and Pedro Carvalho in a quarterfinal matchup of the Bellator MMA Grand Prix tournament at 145 pounds. Matt Mitrione, Paul Daley, Nick Newell and Kevin "Baby Slice" Ferguson Jr. were also set to be featured on the undercard.
Unrelated to the recent outbreak, Bellator now enters a nearly two-month break before its next scheduled event on May 9 in San Jose, California.
Coker's decision mirrored that of nearly every sports promotion and league in cancelling scheduled games and events this weekend for an undetermined period of time. A "ShoBox: The New Generation" boxing card will still air Friday on Showtime from Hinckley, Minnesota, as will a UFC Fight Night card on Saturday from Brasilia, Brazil, although both will take place without fans in attendance.