All combat sports events in California called off


All combat sports events scheduled to take place in California through the end of March were called off Thursday as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Based on guidance issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health to protect Californians against the possible spread of COVID-19, the California State Athletic Commission is canceling all events through March 31,” the commission said in a statement. “CSAC will use this period to determine the next steps for moving forward with future events.

“The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance that certain types of gatherings be postponed or canceled in March to protect public health and slow the rate of COVID-19 transmission. The recommendation applies to all nonessential professional, social, and community gatherings.”

The decision by the commission wipes away a number of boxing and MMA events for at least the rest of the month, the highest profile being the Golden Boy Promotions boxing card scheduled for March 29 at The Forum in Inglewood. Undefeated welterweight Vergil Ortiz, the 2019 ESPN prospect of the year, was scheduled to headline against Samuel Vargas in a 12-rounder bout.

Golden Boy’s card at the Avalon in Hollywood on March 19 was also postponed. That card was supposed to include featherweight Joet Gonzalez and junior lightweight Lamont Roach Jr. both coming back from decision losses in recent world title fights.

“[Thursday] morning, we were informed by the California State Athletic Commission that all combative sports events have been cancelled for the month of March due to concerns regarding COVID-19,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said in a statement. “Therefore, our March 19 and March 28 events, which were scheduled at Avalon Hollywood and the Forum respectively, have officially been postponed. We will work with state and local officials as well as our venue and broadcast partners to determine the best course of action with respect to these and other upcoming events, both in California and elsewhere.

“The health and safety of our fighters, fans, employees, officials and partners is of the utmost importance to us, and we thank them for their support and understanding during this time. We will communicate further plans when the time is appropriate.”

There were other cards called off also, including the Thompson Boxing show scheduled for Saturday in Orange and the 360 Boxing Promotions card at the Avalon on March 29. The promoters said they hope to reschedule the events.

The most notable MMA card canceled was the Lights Out Extreme Fighting event scheduled for Saturday night in El Cajon.

ESPN’s Marc Raimondi contributed to this report.

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