Two boxing cards at Madison Square Garden have been called off because of the coronavirus outbreak.
A few hours after announcing the fights would proceed without crowds, promoter Bob Arum said Thursday they are off because there was no way to test the fighters themselves for the virus.
Arum’s Top Rank company had planned to show off two of its young cards, with Shakur Stevenson defending his featherweight title on Saturday in an ESPN fight and Ireland’s Michael Conlan fighting on St. Patrick’s Day on the ESPN+ streaming service.
"We thought we had solved the problem by saying no audience, but then the question became whether any of the fighters had the virus," Arum said. "There was no way to get testing for them so we agreed with the New York Athletic Commission that the fights would be called off."
Unlike most sports organizations, the UFC is still planning to proceed with its full slate of upcoming events, albeit with some serious modifications.