The UFC are all set to bring fans back in a big way at UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Florida on April 24th and despite health concerns the event has sold out within minutes, breaking the arena’s pre-sale record.
That means 15,000 fans will be packed into the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on the night to watch a card headlined by welterweight champion Kamaru Usman’s title rematch with Jorge Masvidal, with no social distancing expected to be in place.
UFC officials are well aware that hosting such an event while the Covid-19 pandemic is still rampant around the globe is dangerous, and indeed it says as much in the fine print of the ticket sales, stating that exposure to the disease at the event, “may result in severe and permanent damage to the health of the Holder and/or others, including but not limited to, death, fever, weight loss, irreversible pulmonary, respiratory and/or neurological system damage, loss of taste or smell, mental or emotional distress, temporary or permanent disability, loss of income, loss of employment, loss of financial or other opportunities, medical expenses.”
Nevertheless, White is bullish about reopening arena to fans after a year without them and intends to pursue sell-out shows wherever they are allowed to do so.
“Everybody’s talking about, they’re first, they’re first – they’re not first,” White told reporters at the UFC 260 press conference. “We’re first. Nobody’s going to do it like we’re going to do it.
“They’re talking outdoor arenas, most of them probably won’t sell out, social distancing, all that stuff. We’re selling out an arena, packed, record-breaking, and I’m going to go everywhere that people want to do that.”