MMA Ratings Podcast

May 27, 2020

UFC: At Long Last, the Promotion Has Been Cleared For A Return To Las Vegas

By Adam Martin

After nearly three months away from its home base in Nevada, the UFC has been cleared to resume its events in Las Vegas. The world's leading MMA promotion, like all other major sports organizations in North America, has seen its events compromised by the coronavirus pandemic. But at long last, for the first time since early March, the UFC can put on a show once again at its home base, the Apex.

UFC President Dana White fought hard to make this happen. Despite major sports leagues like the MLB, NBA, and NHL still being on hiatus, White and the UFC's show was already back to work in early May at UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Florida. But for White, getting the UFC back to its home quarters in Las Vegas was always the goal. The promotion proved it could run three events mostly smoothly, and now the state of Nevada has allowed mixed martial arts to return to the Apex in Vegas.

With White and the other UFC executives crossing their fingers for good news, the Nevada Athletic Commission delivered the news they wanted to hear on Wednesday when it announced three days before this Saturday's UFC on ESPN 9 that the event would be allowed. The commission also cleared the promotion to go ahead and run with its UFC 250 pay-per-view event next week in Vegas, as well. The UFC is officially back in the city that made it famous, and that's music to White's ears.

This was the news the UFC waited for, despite there still being some uncertainty if it would be allowed. Although the UFC has its own facility in Apex to hold fights, there were still severe restrictions placed on sporting events and public gatherings in Nevada. But after White showed that he could run a smooth show in Florida, Nevada decided to let the UFC go on with its show in Vegas. It's good news for the UFC, who now have full control over their show, which wasn't totally the case in Florida.

For MMA fans, this is incredible news. Fight fans are lucky in that they only missed two months of live sports, while fans of baseball, hockey, and basketball are still waiting. Even if no fans can actually be at the arena, watching on television is still a game-changer. But there was still concern that even despite the successful shows in Jacksonville there would be issues in Nevada. Fortunately, that's not the case, and now fans can watch the fun fights the UFC has lined up.

Of course, it's not under ideal circumstances. Like the Jacksonville shows on May 13th and May 16th, there will be no fans in attendance for these UFC events. That means no live gate for the promotion, but the UFC knew that would be the case and wanted to push for its events to go ahead anyway. The organization's deal with ESPN called on the promotion to deliver fights, and White is delivering on that deal by airing these events on TV. Even if the UFC can't pull in a live gate, having cards on ESPN is still a huge deal.

Despite the UFC proving it could run smooth shows in Jacksonville, there are still fans and critics out there who don't believe the UFC should be going ahead with these events. After all, it's not like the shows didn't have issues, such as Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza testing positive, not to mention several coaches also testing positive for COVID-19. But for the most part, you have to be impressed with the safe show that the UFC ran. That's why Nevada has given White the go-ahead.

It's worth pointing out that the UFC has five shows scheduled to take place at the Apex in Las Vegas, but only two so far have been approved so far. The commission is allowing itself some breathing room just in case something does happen, or if the coronavirus has another spike in cases. But it looks like the UFC is going to have at least two events taking place, and that's fantastic news for fight fans.

Dana White has dealt with so many things throughout his career as the UFC President, but he's never dealt with something like the coronavirus pandemic. Even if you don't like White, though, it's hard not to appreciate how hard he's worked for the UFC to return despite all the issues the world is dealing with. The circumstances certainly aren't ideal, but regardless, the Octagon has finally returned to Vegas.

UFC Fight Night on ESPN 9: Woodley vs. Burns takes place May 30, 2020 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click HERE for more UFC on ESPN 9 Pre-Fight Analysis

UFC 250: Nunes vs. Spencer (formerly UFC 250: Cejudo vs. Aldo) was due to take place May 9, 2020 at Ginásio do Ibirapuera in São Paulo, Brazil. Due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus, the event was rescheduled for June 6, 2020.

Click HERE for more UFC 250 Pre-Fight Analysis

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