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After statewide ‘pause,’ UFC events in Vegas could depend on COVID-19 numbers

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Nevada has instituted a three-week “pause” to slow COVID-19 growth

UFC Fight Night: Santos v Teixeira Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has implemented a three-week statewide “pause” to slow the growth of COVID-19 cases in the state.

On Sunday, November 22, Sisolak, who tested positive for COVID-19 himself, held a press conference via Zoom. During his speech, Sisolak announced his plan and why it needed to be implemented.

“As of today, 13 of 17 of our counties are flagged for elevated risk of transmission. In the beginning of October, only two counties were flagged,” Sisolak said. “Our statewide positivity rate is at a record 16.5 percent, and as I mentioned, we’ve surpassed 2,000 deaths.

“Just recently, we experienced a record number of daily cases — 2,416 in just one day. Our previous record was 1,619 in July. Today, we once again had over 2,000 cases reported.”

“Our case rate growth is at wildfire levels – even outpacing neighboring states, such as Arizona. All available models indicate that Nevada is in a “red zone” and our health experts anticipate continued case growth based on current trends,” Sisolak added.

Sisolak’s “pause” went into effect on 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday.

The pause requires all Nevadans and visitors to the state to wear a mask at all times, both indoors and outdoors, when not in the presence of a member of their immediate family. No businesses that are not already closed will close during the pause. However, there will be a lower number of people allowed into establishments such as restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms, fitness centers, dance studios, martial arts studios, museums, art galleries, libraries, zoos and aquariums, arcades, racetracks, bowling alleys, mini golf, amusement and theme parks, and other similar activities.

The number of people allowed at “public gatherings” will also be limited to no more than 50 or 25 percent of the fire code capacity, whichever is less. Social distancing requirements must also be observed at these events.

At the end of the three-week “pause,” Sisolak will evaluate the number of COVID-19 cases and decide the direction the state will go in. If the numbers increase, Sisolak could impose further restrictions.

On Saturday, UFC president Dana White was asked if he had heard rumors that Sisolak’s “pause” might affect the UFC.

“There’s been a rumor going around that Governor Sisolak might end what you’re doing, what Top Rank is doing. Is there a chance that the Governor won’t let you continue to do this now that the Coronavirus is getting worse? There was a rumor around that potentially he was going to put an order out saying that he wasn’t going to allow Top Rank or you to keep doing these shows,” White was asked.

“I never heard anything remotely close to that,” White said. “Look at what we’ve done. That would be madness. I haven’t heard anything even remotely close to that.”

Bloody Elbow has asked the UFC for comment on the upcoming events and possible backup plans, but we did not hear back before publication.

UFC events scheduled for November 28, December 5, 12 and 19 are on the Nevada State Athletic Commission calendar.

When asked about the rumor that those UFC events might be on Sisolak’s radar, NSAC executive director Bob Bennett told Bloody Elbow via email, “I can only say at this time we will adhere to Governor Sisolak’s Directives, and follow the science behind COVID-19.”

It seems as if the immediate future of the upcoming UFC events could be in the hands of the resident and visitors to Nevada.