As we see the coronavirus turn the MMA world upside down, big promotions like the UFC are doing their best to follow health recommendations without losing too much business. The major MMA promotions can afford to weather the storm of canceled events. Regional promotions like 247 Fighting Championships of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are taking a serious hit from event cancellations. They don’t have UFC money to fall back on, and 247 FC‘s recently canceled event is a hardship that the promotion will hopefully bounce back from.
247 Fighting Championships Impacted by Coronavirus
There are probably many regional promotions taking a financial hit due to events being canceled during this global pandemic. 247 Fighting Championships is no different. Their promotion’s fourth event, Brawl in the Burgh 3, was set to go down Saturday, March 14. Unfortunately for the promotion, the fighters, and the fans, the event was canceled that morning, just hours before doors were set to open.
As explained in a Facebook post (found below) by 247 FC promoter Ryan Middleton, the event was “okay-ed” by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission during the afternoon of Friday, March 13. Weigh-ins proceeded as scheduled and the event seemed ready to go.
The morning of the fights, Middleton was contacted by the commission and was told that the event could only proceed with no fans in attendance. For a regional promotion, this scenario is already a huge financial hit. They would basically be taking on all the expenses of a typical event without the ticket or concession sales to make profit. But, since the fighters had already weighed in, Middleton was willing to proceed with the fights behind closed doors. He even reached out to Fite.TV to request they stream the event for free because fans wouldn’t be able to attend the show live. At this point, it was clear 247 FC would be losing a lot of money on this show, but they were willing to let the show go on for the fighters.
Statement from 247 FC Owner Ryan Middleton
Posted by 247 Fighting Championships on Sunday, March 15, 2020
Shortly after talking to Fite.TV, Middleton was made aware that the commission would be cancelling the fights. At this time, he contacted all the fighters and let them know what happened. Needless to say, they were all devastated. Out of respect to the fighters, Middleton paid all the pro fighters on the card their show money. He was not legally required to do that due to the circumstances surrounding the cancellation (Pennsylvania was put under a state of emergency).
To go along with paying the fighters, 247 FC also provided full refunds to ticket purchasers. They also gave fans the option of taking a credit for tickets to a future 247 FC event. So, the promotion lost money not only by paying the pro fighters their show money, but also by all the expenses they incurred before the fights were canceled. They dealt with the expenses of weigh-ins and venue setup as well. It was surely a rough time for Middleton and company, and they deserve a lot of credit for paying the fighters and taking on that extra financial burden to help the fighters.
Support Regional MMA
Times like these remind us that we need to support local MMA as much as we can. 247 Fighting Championships is a great example, but they surely are not the only example. These promotions help start the careers of the fighters we watch in the UFC, Bellator, ONE, and wherever else. 247 FC have already said that they will be back from this setback and their next show is currently scheduled for the end of May. Hopefully for the promotion’s sake and regional MMA everywhere, promotions will be able to successful be able to overcome the obstacles caused by the coronavirus pandemic.