The UFC really wants to return home.
The promotion expects its next card to take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on May 30, with a welterweight fight between former champion Tyron Woodley against Gilbert Burns headlining the show.
UFC president Dana White confirmed plans to the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday, saying “we are a go on the 30th.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic forced every major sports league to pause operations, the UFC has scrambled to continue doing business during the outbreak. Most recently, the UFC traveled to Jacksonville, Fla., this past week for a trio of shows.
Despite an invitation to hold cards in Florida or Arizona, White has been adamant about returning to Las Vegas, where events can be held in their $100 million APEX facility, which also houses Dana White’s Contender Series.
In March, the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended all combat sports in the state in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. As of now, that ban has not been lifted.
As NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett previously told MMA Fighting, the commission would take its guidance for reopening from available data and science on COVID-19. The governor’s office, meanwhile, said it’s working on a plan to further relax current business restrictions designed to curtail the spread of the virus.
“As stated last week, the Governor’s Office is working with the Local Empowerment Advisory Panel (LEAP), state agencies, local leaders, public health experts and the business community to continue developing guidelines for the potential Phase 2 reopening,” the governor’s office said in a statement sent to MMA Fighting on Wednesday.
“As a reminder, at this time, the State of Nevada is still evaluating the data since Phase 1 reopening began on May 9.”
Gov. Sisolak issued an executive order in March shutting down all non-essential businesses in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. Even casinos have remained shuttered, although many owners are planning to reopen with new safety measures in June.
The Nevada commission doesn’t have a meeting scheduled in May, and the commission previously has deferred to the governor’s office regarding any plans to allow combat sports to start again in the state.
White, though, is confident that he’ll be able to move forward with the card on May 30, which is now just 10 days away.