Dana White Says Next UFC Fight Night Card Will Be Held in Las Vegas or Arizona

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2020

FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2019, file photo, UFC President Dana White speaks at a news conference in New York. UFC 249 has been canceled after ESPN and parent company Disney stopped White's plan to keep fighting amid the coronavirus pandemic. After defiantly vowing for weeks to maintain a regular schedule of fights, White announced the decision to cease competition Thursday, April 9, on ESPN, the UFC's broadcast partner. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

UFC President Dana White said Sunday that he hopes the next UFC card on May 30 will be held in Las Vegas with Arizona as a backup plan, according to Mark Long of the Associated Press.

After nearly two months off due to the coronavirus pandemic, UFC returned to action on May 9 with UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Florida. No fans were in attendance, which was also the case for the May 13 and 16 Jacksonville cards.

Las Vegas is slowly reopening with certain COVID-19 guidelines in place, and it isn't yet known if UFC will receive clearance to hold a card there in two weeks.

Arizona is also reopening, as bars and restaurants began to offer dine-in services Saturday with social distancing protocols in place.

While running shows without fans has eliminated gate revenue for UFC, it has been a successful endeavor for the company overall. 

Per John Ourand of Sports Business Journal (h/t Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports), UFC 249 did over 700,000 buys on ESPN+. White didn't confirm the number, but he told Iole: "We absolutely destroyed it. It was a home run by every measure. The early trends were good and they continued."

According to ESPN, White ideally wants to hold the May 30 UFC card at his Apex building in Las Vegas, but combat sports remain suspended in Nevada. Conversely, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said combat sports can return to his state Saturday.

White said it will be "super disappointing" if the card can't be held in Vegas, but added that UFC will "100 percent" go to Arizona if that is the case.

Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, Glover Teixeira vs. Anthony Smith and Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris have headlined the past three UFC cards this month, but it hasn't yet been announced who will main event the May 30 card.