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Jacksonville mayor ‘proud’ to have full crowd for UFC 261, doesn’t offer details on safety protocols

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UFC 261 scheduled to host a full crowd in Jacksonville. Florida on April 24

VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena Hosts UFC 261
VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena Hosts UFC 261
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, UFC president Dana White, announced with a smile, that the UFC is planning a pay-per-view event in Jacksonville, Florida for April 24th. Three title fights will headline the UFC 261 fight card. The UFC also plans to fill the arena with fans.

“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,” said White. “Full capacity at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. And you know I’m bringing an incredible card.”

Due to COVID-19, the UFC has not held an event with a full crowd since 15,077 fans saw UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 7, 2020.

When asked if there was a safety plan in place for the event, the office of Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry replied to Bloody Elbow:

“Thanks to the strong leadership of Governor DeSantis and his smart and safe approach throughout COVID-19, Florida is poised to host signature sporting events. The UFC and its president, Dana White, have demonstrated the ability to safely host fans at multiple events that have taken place during the pandemic in Florida, Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi. For the thousands of UFC fans who are ready to return to world-class sports entertainment, we are proud to welcome you back to Jacksonville.”

The UFC did not reply before publication time when asked about a safety plan, nor did the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, which oversees MMA events.

According to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Florida had 31,692 new cases of COVID-19 last week and 560 deaths. The testing positivity rate last week was 5.88 percent. The World Health Organization recommends two weeks of below 5 percent before governments consider reopening.

The UFC also has the April 24 date licensed for UFC Apex in Las Vegas, according to MMA Junkie.