Saturday, November 26, 2022

Helwani: UFC APEX Cards In 2022 Is Unacceptable

The UFC returns tonight to the Apex in Las Vegas for UFC Vegas 61 and MMA journalist Ariel Helwani isn’t exactly thrilled about the venue choice.

The UFC has held a majority of its events at their Apex center since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. As the pandemic starts to lessen and life returns to some semblance of normal, the promotion is still hosting a large amount of UFC Fight Night events at the Apex.

While the smaller, less raucous setting isn’t ideal for fans to attend events, a slew of big-name fights has taken place at the Apex. This includes the heavyweight trilogy between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic, along with Fight Nights headlined by the likes of Dustin Poirier, Colby Covington, and Tyron Woodley.

While Helwani understands the necessity of the Apex to hold events during the unprecedented global pandemic, he feels it’s time to reserve the space for other elements of the UFC other than the cards themselves.

Ariel Helwani Is Critical Of UFC’s Reluctance To Host More Events Outside Of The Apex

During a recent segment of The MMA Hour, Helwani questioned the UFC’s decision to continue to hold events at the Apex.

“How is this possible? How is this okay?” Helwani said. “We’re approaching 2023, alright? We’re approaching three years since the world shut down. Calvin Kattar and Arnold Allen shouldn’t be fighting at the UFC Apex, and neither should Bryce Mitchell or Movsar Evloev.”

Helwani’s comments come amidst the controversy surrounding the event this Saturday. UFC President Dana White will bar the media, along with spectators, from watching the event live and in person. Rumors have spread of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s attendance having to do with the closed-off card, though White has since downplayed this sentiment.

UFC Fight Night events have returned to some venues outside of the Apex, including recent cards in Austin, Paris, and London. Pay-per-views are now away from the Apex full-time and back in larger venues.

A strawweight matchup between Mackenzie Dern and Yan Xiaonan will headline the Apex-based UFC Vegas 61 tonight.

Do you agree with Ariel Helwani?