UFC President Dana White has announced that UFC 261 in April will be held in Jacksonville, Florida with a full capacity crowd, and will feature three title fights.
The UFC is officially going back to normal, as UFC President Dana White announced Monday that UFC 261 will be held in Jacksonville, Florida with a full capacity crowd. The news comes as more and more states are reopening after nationwide closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
— danawhite (@danawhite) March 16, 2021
The last event to feature a capacity crowd was UFC 248 on March 7, 2020. At the time, the notion that COVID-19 would lead to a drastic change in business was dismissed. But the following week the event in Brasilia went from being a run of the mill show with spectators to one held within an empty arena, where even media covering the event were not permitted inside. In the weeks that followed, the UFC cancelled events and suspended action until May, when they put on three events in Jacksonville before returning to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Since then, the UFC has gone between the Apex and Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, which accommodated travel for athletes who struggled to reach the United States. Last January, the UFC had a limited crowd of roughly 2,000 people for UFC 257 headlined by Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
Other than that, fans have been nowhere to be seen. Empty arena shows became the norm for MMA fans. That appears to be coming to an end.
The UFC will be returning to the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 24, the same venue they occupied last May following the cancellation of several events. The UFC President also announced that the event would be headlined by the rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, on top of the two previously announced championship bouts with Valentina Shevchenko facing Jessica Andrade and Weilli Zhang taking on Rose Namajunas.