The Association of Ringside Physicians issued a statement on the coronavirus pandemic and combat sports this week. The group, which includes more than 350 doctors worldwide, recommended the indefinite suspension of all combat sports events, regardless of the number of people involved.
It should be noted that ARP, which works with boxing and MMA promotions, is not linked to AEW or WWE. Professional Wrestling is often considered to be under the combat sports banner. WWE and AEW have been taping their recent matches at closed-set locations with essential personnel only. It's rumored that WWE will return to live TV with Friday's SmackDown and Monday's RAW, but that hasn't been confirmed, and the live taping would still likely take place on a closed set. UFC President Dana White has reportedly secured a private island to run fights from each weekend during the outbreak.
There's still no word on when regular WWE touring and events with crowds will resume, but sports leagues may have to wait until late summer before they can start putting fans in seats again, according to President Trump's call with sports leaders this past weekend, which includes WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon.
Below is the full COVID-19 statement from ARP:
ARP Statement on COVID-19
A LETTER FROM THE BOARD
The ARP recommends the indefinite suspension of all combat sports events.
The Association of Ringside Physicians has been actively following the recommendations of the CDC as well as other professional medical societies concerned with the spread of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.
Sporting events across the world have been cancelled in response to the increased risk of infection and transmission by participants, fans, officials, and support staff.
It is our recommendation that all combat sporting events be postponed until further notice. This includes any and all events, regardless of the number of people involved. Any combat sport taking place during this global pandemic places the athletes, officials, and anyone else involved in the event under unnecessary risk of infection and transmission of Covid-19. In addition, combat sports athletes often require medical attention after a bout, and we do not wish to see any additional strain on an already overwhelmed medical system.
We continue to monitor this ever-evolving situation, and our thoughts continue to be with those who have been and will be affected by this disease.
Our organization remains steadfast in our mission: to serve, protect, and educate all involved in combative sports.