It appears the UFC is going to be the first MMA promotion to put on an event with what could be a sellout crowd since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. UFC President Dana White is setting his sights on Houston, Texas. An exact date for the event was not announced.
White said at the UFC 259 press conference that he’d be “ready to roll” in about two to three weeks as far as an event in Houston. News recently emerged that Texas, Mississippi and Florida are allowing full capacity events. White had said he would not hold any UFC event outside the UFC Apex during the pandemic as he wanted to have sellout crowds.
UFC 260: Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 is scheduled to take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas where all U.S. events have been during the pandemic. White said during the same press conference the event could relocate.
“Could be. We’ll see what happens,” White said about UFC 260. “I’m ready to go. I’d move this one if we could. I told everybody, when this opened up that I would be first and we would go first and we will. If we could do it, we’d do it.”
News about Texas’ and other states’ decision comes after an announcement that venues like Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center in New York will operate at 10% capacity. Restrictions in New York won’t change until March 26. When that decision was announced, no pro wrestling or combat sports promotion had announced plans to return to the city.
As far as the rest of the MMA world is concerned, the other major promotions in Bellator MMA and the Professional Fighters League will return in April. News just broke that the 2021 PFL regular season will take place in a “bubble environment” in Atlanta. There will be no fans and COVID-19 precautions will be in place according to a press release.
“The league will support its athletes with full access to training facilities and the PFL cage, as well as a variety of meal options throughout the duration of their time in Atlantic City. Athletes will be reporting to the bubble 17 days prior to their scheduled fights, allowing for initial quarantine and additional measures to ensure full participation,” the release said.
The 2021 PFL season will air on ESPN+ and ESPN2. Regular season events for April 23, April 29, May 6, June 10, June 17, and June 25. There is no word as of yet about PFL playoff or championship events.
Bellator MMA returns on its new Network, Showtime, on April 2. All Bellator Events through May 7’s Bellator 258 card will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The venue has served as Bellator’s own bubble environment during the pandemic.
The Scrap will have information about boxing, bare-knuckle boxing and pro wrestling events with full crowds as it becomes available. Bare Knuckle FC returns to Mississippi on March 19 but the promotion has not commented on these latest developments.