By John Morgan |
April 14, 2020 11:55 pm
The UFC’s new multi-million dollar production facility will soon serve as the company’s primary location for live events.
Earlier today, UFC president Dana White today told ESPN the company is targeting a return to hosting live events on May 9. While he has declined to reveal a location for that fight card, the UFC boss subsequently told Variety that the UFC Apex, located adjacent to UFC headquarters in Las Vegas, will soon be hosting fight cards.
“We built the Apex facility next door just in time to save the day from this pandemic,” White told Variety.com via email. “Live fights will be produced out of there starting next month and for the foreseeable future.”
Opened in 2019, the UFC Apex served as the host of the third season of Dana White’s Contender Series, which streamed live on ESPN+.
UFC officials have been forced to seek out alternative locations for the company’s live events due to constantly changing health recommendations and safety guidelines issued by various state and federal governments during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The state of Nevada is currently under a stay-at-home order that lasts until April 30, but Variety reports UFC officials are expecting those orders to be relaxed in May. As White previously announced, though, live crowds will not be present for any live events in the coming months – and perhaps longer.
The utilization of the UFC Apex will apparently not slow the company’s pursuit of a location in international waters that has colloquially been dubbed “Fight Island.” White told Yahoo! Sports the facility remains in development and should also be open sometime in May.
That location would allow the company to host fights between fighters around the globe who may encounter trouble getting into the U.S. while travel restrictions remain in place.
“We’re going to run through the American fighters pretty quickly, so we have to get that up and ready to roll,” White told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole.
The UFC’s most recent live event took place in Brazil on March 14. Subsequent events planned for London, Ohio and Oregon were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the promotion initially hoped to return to action at UFC 249, which was to take place this Saturday. Initially planned for New York, UFC officials tried to relocate the card to tribal land in California but ultimately scrapped the card at the request of their broadcast partners at ESPN and Disney.
UFC officials previously announced plans to host the Ohio and Oregon cards at the UFC Apex, but Nevada State Athletic Commission officials in March put a moratorium on fight cards in the Silver State. The commission has yet to meet again since holding an emergency session to issue the temporary order.
White has announced a star-studded lineup is in the works for May 9. While all indications point to Florida as a potential location for the card, the UFC boss has declined to commit to a host venue for the time being.