NSAC approves upcoming UFC, boxing events in Vegas

MMA


The UFC’s next two events have officially been approved.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) voted unanimously in a phone meeting Wednesday morning to allow a pair of UFC cards to run in Las Vegas over the next two weeks — this Saturday and on June 6. Both events will take place at the UFC Apex, across from the promotion’s corporate campus, with no fans in attendance.

UFC Fight Night on Saturday will be headlined by a welterweight fight between former champion Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns. UFC 250, a pay-per-view show June 6, will be headlined by Amanda Nunes, ESPN’s top pound-for-pound women’s fighter, defending her featherweight title against Felicia Spencer.

“Throughout this process, we’ve been working hand in glove with the UFC,” NSAC executive director Bob Bennett said. “I’m aware of their operations plan and everything is moving forward based on their operations plan and our protocols.”

After running three events this month in Jacksonville, Florida, it was a goal for the UFC to return to its home base of Las Vegas. UFC president Dana White has said that running shows out of the UFC Apex would be the safest possible situation for the UFC, its fighters and its staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, the NSAC also approved two Top Rank boxing events, on June 9 and June 11. Both will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Shakur Stevenson vs. Felix Caraballo headlines the June 9 card with a co-feature of Mikaela Mayer vs. Helen Joseph. Bennett said Top Rank’s COVID-19 plan is not done yet.

“I’ve reviewed their operations plan,” Bennett said. “They’re still in the process of completing it. It’s very comprehensive. We’re moving in the right direction. I’m pleased to see we’re working in concert with a closed-system event and I expect it to be very successful.”

ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported Monday that the UFC has informed fighters and their teams of stricter coronavirus regulations in Las Vegas, including two diagnostic COVID-19 tests — one at arrival and one at weigh-ins — and the requirement of self-isolation.

The NSAC voted unanimously to approve its own coronavirus-related protocols Wednesday. Per a commission document obtained by ESPN, all personnel must answer a coronavirus-related questionnaire before traveling to the event, and upon arrival personnel “will be mandated to quarantine immediately after their COVID-19 tests.”

“Upon receiving their results, they must stay quarantined (no contact with the public) until the conclusion of their respective event,” the document states. “The Promoter and Promoter’s staff will be responsible for knowing the location of all their personnel working the event.”

When personnel arrive for events and enter what the commission describes as the “closed system,” they will receive another questionnaire, a temperature check and a diagnostic coronavirus test, then be told to quarantine.

All COVID-19 results will be submitted to a medical representative of the commission. If someone is suspected to have COVID-19, through a questionnaire or test, “the individual will remain in quarantine and an infectious disease expert will be consulted.”

The NSAC protocols document also mentions the distribution of education for proper safety measures prior to the event, cleaning of facilities used and communication about COVID-19 updates to those involved in the event. Masks will be required by personnel at all times, per the document. Contact tracing will be done at the expense of promoters and reported to Southern Nevada health officials, according to NSAC chairman Anthony Marnell III.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Tuesday night that the state would be entering Phase 2 of its reopening, which includes “sporting events, concerts and theater performances without an audience.”

No other future combat sports events were mentioned on the meeting agenda or the call. Marnell said the commission’s decisions will remain fluid during the pandemic.

“I’d ask our commissioners to be ready if things move and change,” Marnell said. “This is a fluid situation. We’ll be ready to move and change with it, as we always have.”



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