Bellator's event this weekend will go on, but will be closed to the public.
Bellator 241 on Friday night will have no fans in attendance due to the coronavirus outbreak, officials confirmed Thursday. The card will take place as scheduled at Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Refunds will be given to all those who purchased tickets.
"The health and safety of our athletes, fans and staff are our number one priority and we will continue to monitor all information surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak," Bellator president Scott Coker wrote on Twitter.
Gov. Ned Lamont declared a state of emergency in Connecticut on Thursday in the wake of the coronavirus scare. The NBA, NCAA, NHL and MLS have all suspended play. Major League Baseball will delay the start of its season.
Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation director Mike Mazzulli told ESPN that ultimately the choice was left up to Bellator for this weekend's card. He said his doctors will be implementing a more strict pre-fight physical for fighters, including checking for fevers and asking if a fighter has recently been in any COVID-19 hot zones.
"The Mohegan Tribe Athletic Department is always concerned about fighters' safety," Mazzulli said. "They concur with Bellator's decision. In fact, we implemented added pre-fight physical requirements, which included making sure all fighters do not have a fever and have not traveled to any heavily affected areas."
Bellator 241 is headlined by a featherweight title fight between champion Patricio Freire and challenger Pedro Carvalho. The bout will also act as a quarterfinal in the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix. In the co-main event, Emmanuel Sanchez and Daniel Weichel will meet in another grand prix quarterfinal bout.