Mixed martial arts and boxing are back in business in Nevada.
The Nevada Athletic Commission on Wednesday unanimously agreed to allow two UFC events and two top-ranked boxing events in Las Vegas over the next two weeks.
The decision marks the end of a moratorium on fighting in Nevada from March 14, when the commission suspended competition in the coronavirus.
The UFC immediately confirmed plans to hold an event without fans at the UFC Apex Arena at its sprawling corporate complex in Las Vegas on Saturday night, and then held a June UFC 250 counter-show at the same venue.
The top-ranked is expected to have fan-free boxing shows at the MGM Grand on June 9 and June 11.
Noting the importance of sports for the state’s economy and morale, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced Tuesday night that sporting events could return if promoters adhere to health regulations approved by appropriate authorities.
The commission on Wednesday approved strict coronavirus security protocols to return the war game to their hometowns. The UFC and top rankings have been working closely with the commission in recent weeks to develop the protocol, according to the commission’s executive director, Bob Bennett.
“Throughout this whole process, we’ve been working with the UFC and Glove,” Bennett said. “I am aware of their operation plan and everything is moving forward based on their activity plan and our protocol.”
The UFC established a partial blueprint for safety regulations when they held three shows in Jacksonville, Florida earlier this month, awaiting approval from the Nevada Commission to return to their hometown.
The Nevada Commission’s safety protocols include instant check-in at a hotel centered on the arrival of all participants in Las Vegas and mandatory separation, followed by another test and isolation period before the event.
The UFC is expected to operate a few domestic cards in Las Vegas in the coming weeks, and President Dana White plans to hold other shows on a private island for fighters not yet based in the United States.
White said the Jacksonville events included more than 1,110 processed tests for COVID-19. Veteran fighter Jacker Souza and his two cornermen tested positive before the first event in Florida, but no other positive tests were reported.
The UFC show will be headlined by former welterweight champion Tyrone Woodley against Gilbert Burns on Saturday.
Defending two-division champion Amanda Nunes is in attendance for her featherweight belt against Canadian opponent Felicia Spencer at the UFC 250 main event on June 6. The UNFC 250 was originally scheduled for 9 Noun Original Brazil, but was suspended and eventually removed.