Is Nevada About To Shut Down UFC Vegas Events?
As the governor of Nevada prepares COVID restrictions, rumor has it combat sports in the state may shut back down.
Everybody in North America remembers March as the month the Coronavirus s**t really hit the fan.
For mixed martial arts, we watched our last UFC event with a crowd, UFC 248: Adesanya vs. Romero, on March 7th. Then March 14th’s UFC Fight Night in Brazil ended up being the first event with no crowd. On March 15, world figures seemed to wake up to the dangers of the pandemic running unchecked through their countries. Borders closed. Lockdowns were enacted. And all UFC events from March 21st to May 2nd ended up being cancelled.
The UFC didn’t end up being allowed to hold private fanless events in their own private arena until May 30th. Since then things have been rolling … we wouldn’t say without a hitch given the extremely lengthy list of fighters who have caught COVID-19 and the number of fights that have been cancelled due to the virus. But all things considered, the UFC has done an impressive job keeping their Las Vegas events from becoming virus spreading hotspots.
But that may not save them if the numbers in Nevada continue to rise, and there certainly doesn’t look like they’re about to drop. November has seen new cases in the state go up from 1000 to 2500. 30 more people died of COVID yesterday alone. Some may say ‘So what? Those numbers don’t sound high.’ But it’s the exponential growth that other states are already seeing and the imminent overwhelming of hospital ICUs that has officials considering a return to tough lockdowns.
The Las Vegas Review Journal has Gov. Steve Sisolak saying new measures are coming soon, and one has to wonder if that means the UFC APEX might get shut back down.
At the UFC 255 press conference, Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole said word going around backchannels was that combat sports might shut down sooner rather than later. He asked whether Dana White had any information on that.
“There’s been a rumor going around that Governor Sisolak might end what you’re doing, what Top Rank is doing,” Iole said. “Is there a chance that the Governor won’t let you continue to do this now that the Coronavirus is getting worse. There was a rumor around that potentially he was going to put an order out saying that he wasn’t going to allow Top Rank or you to keep doing these shows.”
“I never heard anything remotely close to that,” a visibly perturbed White replied. “Look at what we’ve done. That would be madness. I haven’t heard anything even remotely close to that.”
But as many regional gym and fitness center owners know, it often doesn’t matter whether you are or aren’t statistically the ones doing all the spreading. Shutting down gyms and sports seems to be right at the top of the lockdown playlist politicians have been using when trying to do ‘something’ that doesn’t involve a complete proper quarantine for everyone but essential workers (real essential workers).
The UFC’s latest APEX run officially ends on December 19th with the Khamzat Chimaev vs. Leon Edwards ESPN event. After that it’s back to Abu Dhabi on January 23rd. Could the UFC be forced to move some of these remaining four Vegas cards to Fight Island? And could they end up staying there even longer? With no clear idea just how big the second wave of Coronavirus will be, we’ll just have to wait and see.