UFC president Dana White indicated early Wednesday the organization will hold a May 30 event at its Apex Facility in southwest Las Vegas. “We are a go on the 30th,” White said in a text message.
Former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley is scheduled to headline the card in his first fight since losing the belt in March 2019 to Kamaru Usman. Woodley will face Gilbert Burns.
If approved by the Nevada Athletic Commission, the fights will be held without fans. White had said last week that he would move the event to Arizona if that approval is not forthcoming.
The NAC suspended all combat sports events in an emergency meeting March 14 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and that order is still in place.
In a statement to the Review-Journal on Wednesday a spokesperson from Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office wrote that ”the Governor’s Office is working with the Local Empowerment Advisory Panel (LEAP), state agencies, local leaders, public health experts and the business community to continue developing guidelines for the potential Phase 2 reopening. As a reminder, at this time, the State of Nevada is still evaluating the data since Phase 1 reopening began on May 9.”
Sisolak has not made any formal announcement regarding whether allowing fanless professional sporting events are a part of Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan. Several other states have already given the green light for the return of pro sports, including Arizona and Florida, where the UFC held three televised events over an eight-day period in an empty Jacksonville arena from May 9 to 16.
White has raved about the health and safety protocols the organization put in place for the three events in Florida, where fighters, cornerpeople and staffers were tested before entering a host hotel.
A fighter and his two cornermen tested positive for coronavirus before the first event and were removed from the premises.
White said the UFC got better at the procedures for each of the three events and added last week that their home facility would provide the safest environment for all involved.
“It makes more sense with what’s going on for us to be doing the events at our own arena,” he said in Jacksonville. “It will be a lot safer for my employees, the fighters, everyone. I hope to have fights there this month.”
UFC 250, featuring a women’s featherweight title bout between Felicia Spencer and champion Amanda Nunes is also likely to take place at the same facility on June 6 should the NAC give the formal go-ahead for the organization to resume operations in Nevada.
White plans to proceed with a full schedule of events at the Apex if granted approval from the NAC.