Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC has done a great job of finding ways to continue to put on events in a safe way. They set up shop in the UFC Apex center in Las Vegas and on Fight Island in Adu Dhabi. Now, a year later, the UFC is ready to return to packed houses full of screaming (and woo-ing) fans. Dana White spoke a bit about how he sees the landscape of events playing out from here on, starting with no more PPV events in the APEX’s small cage.
“I hope not,” White said when asked if there will be another UFC APEX pay-per-view event at the UFC 260 post-fight press conference. “Listen, don’t get me wrong. This is amazing. I’m sure it’s a lot easier for you guys, too. Pull right in the parking lot, we roll in. You know what this is kind of like? Everybody who’s getting lazy and used to working at home, where you don’t really have to…you leave your pajama bottoms on, put a nice top on, sit in front of your computer screen, and Zoom somebody.”
The UFC has already begun to get the ball rolling on live events elsewhere in the country. UFC 261 is set to take place in Florida at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, and UFC 262 after that is set to be held at the Toyota Center in Houston Texas. Beyond these two events, there is already talk to hold PPV events this summer at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“It’s the easy, lazy way to do things, but this isn’t the right thing to do. We should be in sold-out arenas: fans packed, going crazy. And unfortunately, we’ll have to start traveling to all these cities again. But that’s the right thing to do. This is the easy, lazy thing to do. And it’s nice. And it was awesome while it lasted. But hopefully, this is over.”
Dana White was very vocal about wanting the UFC to be the first sporting event to return to live in-person events. He kept that promise with this upcoming UFC 261 card that sold out in record time. If all goes safe and well on April 24 it seems this plan of abandoning the Apex for PPV should be a go. They still may use the location of all other cards at this point in time.
What do you think of the UFC moving forward with all live and in-person PPV events?