Dana White has his promoter’s hat on today. The UFC president took to social media not long ago with a video announcement to fans - UFC 261 goes down on April 24th in Jacksonville, Florida.
With a full capacity crowd of 15,000 fans. To watch three title fights.
Here’s what he had to say.
“What’s up everybody, UFC president Dana White here. And I have been waiting a year for this day, to tell you - we are back. UFC 261 on April 24th will be in Jacksonville, Florida with a full house of fans. Full capacity at the Five Star Veterans Memorial Arena. And you know I’m bringing an incredible card.”
He then announced the three title fights for the event. Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will rematch Jorge Masvidal; Valentina Shevchenko will defend her women’s flyweight title against former strawweight champ Jessica Andrade; and Weili Zhang is defending her women’s strawweight title against former champ Rose Namajunas.
The two women’s title fights had been basically set for the card anyway, but the confirmation of Usman-Masvidal 2 was a bit of a surprise, since they were rumored to be coaching TUF first.
Obviously the full crowd idea will be a divisive one. While plenty of people have been vaccinated for the coronavirus, there will be nothing close to herd immunity by April 24th.
The state of Texas had recently indicated that full capacity crowds would be allowed for their sporting events going forward, and the UFC considered going there. But at UFC 259, Dana stated that it was not indeed the case due to push back from local mayors. Florida actually lifted attendance restrictions on sporting events back in October, but no one had decided to go forward with a full capacity event.
Until now, apparently.