Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has announced plans for a 100-per-cent capacity house at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena for the bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier in July.
UFC 264 will take place at the 20,000-seat indoor arena on July 10, and will be the first full-capacity event for the sport in Las Vegas since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
The announcement came soon after Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said the state could reopen to 100-per-cent capacity from June 1, with events currently restricted to 50 per cent.
UFC president Dana White said: “I’m so happy to finally be able to say Vegas is back.
“This summer Las Vegas is back open for business and on July 10, UFC 264 will be at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas at 100% capacity. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s 20,000 fans.”
The UFC has held events in Las Vegas, Florida and Fight Island (in Abu Dhabi) since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. UFC 261 on April 24 features three title fights and will be held in Jacksonville, Florida. It will be the first pay-per-view with a capacity crowd since March 2020.
Nevada completely shut down non-essential businesses, including arenas, bars, and casinos, in March 2020 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. While some establishments began to reopen at 50-per-cent capacity in May 2020, that was then reduced again in November before moving upwards again in March 2021.
Governor Sisolak also plans to remove the statewide required social distancing mandate as of May 1, letting counties determine what is allowed. A mandatory mask mandate remains in effect.
“Based on consultation with our state health officials, I am pleased to announce that I’m very confident every county in the state of Nevada, will be able to fully reopen at 100-per-cent capacity by June 1,” Sisolak said in a press conference.
Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium is set to host spectators for the first time on July 10 when a Garth Brooks concert takes place. The first sporting event scheduled for the arena that opened in 2020 is the CONCACAF Gold Cup final on August 1.
Allegiant Stadium became the home of Las Vegas Raiders last year but did not welcome fans throughout the entire 2020-21 National Football League (NFL) season.
Meanwhile, the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Arizona Coyotes has announced that it will increase seating capacity at Gila River Arena to approximately 50 per cent for the club’s remaining regular season home games in April and May, beginning with the next home game on Saturday, April 17 versus the St. Louis Blues.
The approved 8,500-seating capacity was determined in conjunction with the NHL and with the support of the City of Glendale, state officials and ASM Global (the operators of Gila River Arena).
Under NHL seating capacity requirements, ASM Global received Ventilation Rate Certification for Gila River Arena from a certified Mechanical/HVAC Systems Engineering Firm. Due to NHL protocols regarding seating, the Coyotes will cap attendance at 7,900 for all home games.
“The health and safety of our fans, players, coaches, and staff has been our top priority all season long and we are excited to increase our seating capacity at Gila River Arena for our remaining home games in April and May,” said Coyotes president Xavier A. Gutierrez.
“Throughout this process, we have worked diligently with the City of Glendale, ASM Global, state and federal authorities, medical experts, and the NHL to ensure that we have a safe environment for our fans at Gila River Arena.
“We are confident that the innovative and tech-enabled services we have in place will continue to protect the health and safety of our incredible fans. We appreciate their tremendous support and look forward to creating a great home ice advantage for our players as we fight to secure a playoff position.”
Image: T-Mobile Arena