The primary hurdle in the UFC resuming events in its home base of Las Vegas may be cleared later this month. Per a report by MMA Fighting, the Nevada Athletic Commission will hold a meeting May 27, during which plans for combat sports events returning to the state will be laid.
Any such events would be closed door (without fans), but it’s a big step forward in terms of the UFC’s interests. Immediately after it became clear that the promotion would not be able to carry on as usual during the coronavirus pandemic, the hope was to use the UFC Apex — it’s own small arena and production house, where Dana White’s Contender Series is filmed — to hold events.
However, towards the end of March, the Nevada commission put a freeze on all combat sports in the state, essentially locking the UFC out of its own facility. At least in terms of hosting events there.
With their entire April schedule scrapped, the promotion moved three shows to Florida in May, including UFC 249. With increased safety measures (and a fair amount of debate, pro and con, as to whether the events should even move forward), the promotion managed to pull off UFC 249, UFC Jacksonville, and UFC on ESPN 8, with only a single fighter testing positive for COVID-19, the disease which results from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
That fighter, Jacare Souza, and two of his teammates who were also infected, are to remain in isolation while on the mend. Meanwhile, the organization is ready to get back to work, with a show planned for May 30, and additional cards in June.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced the state’s re-opening plan on May 9. With multiple phases, sporting events were left out of Nevada’s initial re-opening plan. However, Phase 2 is set to take place soon, and with it comes a glimmer of hope for the UFC.
Not just for the world’s largest MMA promotion, either. While Dana White and co. have requested dates on May 30 and June 6 at the Apex, Top Rank Boxing are also looking to hold shows. They’ve tentatively selected June 9 and June 11 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Of course all these dates are pending approval from the NSAC. With the meeting on May 27, the UFC will have little time to make alternate arrangements if something goes sideways.