UFC president Dana White is saying once again that he is pushing to hold events during the global coronavirus pandemic. While that plan fell apart with the previous attempt to hold UFC 249 in California, White has stated they will move forward with a massive pay-per-view card on May 9 before moving events to the UFC’s Las Vegas Apex facility for the “foreseeable future.”
White has kept the location of the May 9 event a secret, much as he attempted with UFC 249 before government officials reportedly put pressure on exclusive pay-per-view distributor Disney/ESPN, leading them to request the event be postponed. It is currently unknown if the May 9 event will also land at the Apex.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has shut down any combat sports in the state during the pandemic, presenting a potential hurdle to any plans to hold events in the state. In an emailed statement to MMA Fighting, NSAC executive director Bob Bennett said they may update their status at the beginning of May, but as of now, they’re in a holding pattern.
“We will see what the data reveals based on the science of COVID-19 and move forward accordingly,” the statement read. “We are closed until further notice, and once again the data from the science will determine future events accordingly.”
The loophole the UFC attempted to use with UFC 249 in California was to hold the event in a casino resort located on Native American land, allowing the company to self-regulate for the event. Self-regulation could be off the table in Nevada, where the NSAC has sanctioned UFC events held at the Apex facility.
Florida remains a contender to host events after the state’s governor declared entertainment workers — including WWE, who has been holding events at their Orlando training facility — to be “essential workers.” That could pave the way for combat sports to also take advantage of that distinction.
As of now, the UFC’s plan to forge ahead during the pandemic remains as uncertain as it has in recent weeks, even as White insists things are full steam ahead.