A reported two dozen spectators were injured after Floyd Mayweather's majority decision victory over Marcos Maidana at Las Vegas' MGM Grand late Saturday night after being caught in a human stampede.
A loud sound mistaken for a gunshot triggered the chaos as spectators sought to leave the venue, according to a Sunday report by Yahoo Sports Canada's Martin Rogers.
"What happened was a temporary wall had fallen over and it made a loud bang and people assumed that shots were fired, so they started stampeding," said Eric Poleski, battalion chief for the Clark County Fire Department.
An estimated 300 to 400 people were caught in the claustrophobic scene, and Poleski stated that 24 fans were treated for injuries at local hospitals, with the most severe ailment being a leg laceration for a woman in her mid 30s.
MaxBoxing.com's Steve Kim was one of many to criticize the logistics of the MGM Grand's layout:
Yeah, I get it, the MGM Grand wants to funnel everyone back to the casino, but that pathway design is so flawed( too narrow)— Steve Kim (@stevemaxboxing) May 4, 2014
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated expressed similar views:
Whatever happened with the crowd exiting the @MGMGrand last night, fact is this: Two major exits is not enough. Creates a messy bottleneck.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 4, 2014
USA Today's Bob Velin reports that the MGM Grand is looking into the incident, with a statement expected to be released later Sunday, according to hotel spokesman Scott Ghertner.
The MGM Grand's official Twitter account posted early Sunday morning that the crowd was under control and being tended to, though it seems the situation was far more serious than originally anticipated:
All is safe at the MGM Grand. Last night security responded promptly to crowd excitement to ensure guest safety.— MGM Grand Hotel (@MGMGrand) May 4, 2014
According to Rogers' report, Clarence "Bones" Adams, a past WBA super bantamweight champion, was among those helping collapsed people to their feet. In the aftermath of the described what he witnessed.
"All of a sudden we heard a loud rumble and people were falling," said Adams. "There was no gun shot. But there was nothing that could be done with the people in here. They were all getting hurt. A little kid got trampled on, all the tables were getting turned."
Rogers notes that the MGM Grand announced a new, $350 million arena this week, so perhaps that venue will have more fan-friendly ways to exit.
It appears this massive mishap could have been a lot worse than it turned out to be, but it is nevertheless a scary incident that left many people hurt and hundreds in harm's way. That may prompt the MGM Grand to reevaluate its current design and make some tweaks to avoid similar incidents in the future.
With multiple experts publicly venting their concerns and this fiasco occurring, action must be taken. Funds should not be an issue for the MGM Grand to ensure the safety of its guests, and even closing the arena temporarily to make the necessary adjustments would be a wise long-term move for all parties involved to avoid any potential future situation like this.