The UFC may have only taken the shortest possible break from running events during the COVID-19 pandemic, but getting fans back in the building for fight cards has been a much bigger struggle. During their most recent trip to Abu Dhabi the promotion was able to host crowds of around 2-3,000, but the last time a US fight card had a live audience was all the way back at UFC 248 in March of last year.
That’s all set to change with the promotion’s upcoming PPV cards. UFC 261 and UFC 262 are both set to take place in front of full-capacity crowds. UFC 261 goes down on April 24th at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. And UFC 262, headlined by a lightweight title fight between former Bellator champ Mike Chandler and top ranked UFC lightweight Charles Oliveira, is all set for Houston, TX.
Tickets recently went on sale for the UFC 262 event, but for fans hoping to cheer on the action from inside the building, the chance may already be gone.
Dana White recently took to Instagram to do a little crowing about the promotion’s success, namely that their tickets sold out in minutes.
UFC 261 tickets included language warning fans that attendance at the event “…may lead to exposure to COVID-19 and that contraction of COVID-19 may result in severe and permanent damage to the health of the Holder and/or others, including, but not limited to, death, fever, weight loss, irreversible pulmonary, respiratory and/or neurological system damage, loss of taste or smell, mental or emotional distress, temporary or permanent disability, loss of income, los of employment, loss of financial or other opportunities, medical expenses, which may or may not be covered by insurance, cleaning expenses, mandatory self-quarantine, loss of licenses and similar approvals by any regulatory or self-regulatory body to which the Holder or any of the Releasing Parties (as defined below is subject, investigation and/or prosecution by civil, criminal or other regulatory authorities and other harms and lost opportunities, whether economic, reputational or otherwise (collectively, the “Harms”).”
However, that doesn’t seem to be stopping fans from flocking to fill the stadiums. Jacksonville recently allowed their mask mandate to expire, but businesses can still require employees and customers to wear them. Similarly, Texas lifted its mask mandate on March 10th. Hopefully the events prove to be a long-standing success for everyone involved.