Upstart MMA promotion ARES FC has postponed its second-ever event due to safety concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
ARES was slated to hold ARES FC 2: Taleb vs. Wouters in Brussels, Belgium, on April 3 as part of the promotion’s impressive first steps, marking the second country the new organization had held events within in as many shows.
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However, citing “serious questions about contagion in closed environments,” ARES has decided to postpone the event until October 30 to best take into consideration “the health of our audience, international fighters, and staff is our utmost concern,” the promotion stated in a press release.
The release also stated that ARES received the “full support” of the fighters involved in the event, as well.
ARES is not alone in altering its sporting or cultural events out of safety qualms due to the coronavirus. Fellow MMA promotion ONE Championship recently moved one of their upcoming events from China to Indonesia and held a Singaporean event without a live audience, multiple sporting leagues have imposed postponements, audience restrictions, or outright cancelations, and even the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are in jeopardy as a result of the deadly contagion, among countless other examples.
The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, originated in Wuhan, China. The virus is a highly contagious respiratory illness that causes symptoms of fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and respiratory problems.
In extreme cases, the virus can cause pneumonia, organ failure, and even death, according to the Center for Disease Control.
According to CNBC (citing Johns Hopkins University), there have now been over 100,000 confirmed international cases of the coronavirus with at least 3,383 known deaths. Countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, and Iran have been the hardest hit in Asia, while Italy, France, and Germany have reported sizable numbers in Europe. The United States only recently began seeing reported cases, but new reports have continued to crop up at a rate to be expected of such an infectious disease.
Belgium, where ARES’ show was scheduled to be held, has seen a reported 109 cases, and Belgium’s Federal Public Services (FPS) bureau has said, “We expect this number to continue to rise.” The country’s tourism industry is “reeling” as fears of the virus spread with it across Europe, according to a report from The Belgian Times.
ARES FC is one of the most promising MMA organizational debuts of late. With a stated focus of promoting MMA in Africa, ARES’ first show took place in Dakar, Senegal, and featured a host of notable names, including Ultimate Fighter and Contender Series veteran Josh Parisian and UFC veterans Taylor Lapilus, Ildemar Alcântara, and Jonathan Meunier, among others.
The event also marked the professional debut of hulking Sengalese wrestler Oumar “Reug Reug” Kane, whose stunning physique and wild athleticism went viral among the MMA and wider sports community.
ARES’ second event looked to promise more of the same with a wide array of well-known and accomplished fighters. UFC veteran Nordine Taleb is scheduled to headline the event, and former UFC flyweight contenders John Moraga and Hector Sandoval will face off in the co-main event. UFC vet Luis Henrique and PFL tournament veteran Chris Curtis are on the card, and Reug Reug will return for his second professional fight.
According to a press release, refunds are available for ticketholders of the event, though the tickets will remain valid for the show’s rescheduled date. The event will air on UFC Fight Pass.
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.