The UFC’s plan to have a full capacity crowd next month won’t be a one-time thing for the promotion. After UFC 261 is hosted with 15,000 fans in Florida on April 24, the UFC is heading to Texas for a bigger arena event with 100% capacity on May 15.
As announced on Friday, UFC 262 will be hosted at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, with tickets to the maximum-capacity event going on sale on April 2. The pay-per-view will be headlined by the lightweight championship between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler.
The last time the UFC hosted the event in the Toyota Center in Houston was on February 2020, before the pandemic hit. It drew 17,401 fans.
Dana White tried to move next week’s UFC 260 to a “full house” Texas event, but cited how “frustrating” it was that the state hasn’t fully opened yet. He booked UFC 261 instead in Florida, and this Texas event will happen a month later.
Texas will also host another massive event a week prior to UFC 262, with 60,000 fans expected at the Dallas Stadium for Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders. Technically though, that large event won’t have a full crowd and will operate at 80% capacity.
That boxing card drew criticism for concerns of it being a super-spreader, and it will likely be the same for this second UFC event planned with a full crowd. Numbers have been improving as vaccines continue to rollout, but there’s still a very high amount of daily cases and deaths in the US.
The state of Texas has the second highest amount of COVID-19 cases in the country, while Florida is third. As of this writing, over 554,000 people have died due to the coronavirus in the US alone.