Witnesses and police say a loud bang at the MGM Grand Garden Arena preceded a dangerous stampede that left dozens of people injured at Saturday night’s boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana.
About 60 people were treated for injuries at the resort and 24 people had to be taken to various hospitals after exiting fans panicked. The Clark County Fire Department was called in just before 11 p.m. to respond to a gunshot victim near the food court.
Las Vegas police also investigated. There was no gunshot victim. A partition near the Starbucks in the MGM food court fell over, making the noise.
American Medical Response’s Las Vegas office said they sent 25 ambulances to the resort that night. Medic West also provided support with several ambulances.
The bulk of the transports were for minor traumatic injuries like cuts, strains and sprains, as well as foot, ankle and back injuries—injuries associated with being stepped on, according to Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa.
“MGM Grand Security and Metro Police who were already on the scene responded quickly to assist,” wrote MGM spokewoman Yvette Monet in an email.
“Our staff continues to assist guests and take reports regarding the incident. Safety is always a priority at our resort. We are investigating the situation thoroughly to understand more completely what occurred, to assist those affected, and to ensure further safety precautions.”
Brian Shapiro was covering the match for his show, “The Vegas Take” on Fox Sports Radio 670 am, and, though he’s covered many fights, he told the Review-Journal he’s never been so scared. Shapiro saw at least five spectators hurt in the maelstrom of people.
He said he was going up the escalator to the media room after the fight, and he heard the loud bang, which did sound like a gunshot. Then he saw some people fighting to his left and a wave of people yelling and screaming. Shapiro saw a boy, about 8 years old, laying on the floor with his face covered in blood. The boy’s father was kneeling over him and shouting for help, but no one could help, he said.
“The problem is you can’t move on that level after a fight,” Shapiro said.
He described frenzied mobs trying to take refuge in restaurants, and then he saw the restaurants close quickly so people couldn’t get in. He said he witnessed about a hundred men and women fleeing into one women’s restroom.
“People were running for their lives,” Shapiro said. “People don’t run like that unless something’s going on.”
To enter the arena, spectators had to pass through metal detectors. In the chaos after the bout, the metal detectors were knocked over, he said.
“There’s many exits at the MGM that were closed,” he said. And it has always been overcrowded at the fights he’s covered over the last ten years. “I don’t know how how they can continue to let this happen.
“They cater to celebrities (who use private exits) but for the general public, they have to go out this way.” Shapiro said. “It’s disgusting.”
The MGM Grand Garden opened in 1993 and seats 16,800 people.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Contact Wesley Juhl at firstname.lastname@example.org and 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter: @WesJuhl.