When Bellator is allowed to come back, don’t expect fights to take place in massive arenas filled with people. Bellator president Scott Coker said the organization is looking to hold fights in studio lots at either Paramount or CBS once coronavirus concerns are lessened, according to MMA Junkie.
Coker, 57, said the organization’s plan currently involves holding fights again in July. Doing so on a studio lot would allow Bellator to operate in a closed environment. Fans would not be allowed at those fights.
“We do have a plan, and the plan really is to come back sometime in July on a soundstage either in the Paramount lot or the CBS lot, and start doing fights in a closed environment with no audience, at least for the first three, four months,” Coker said. “Because even if they say audiences can come back, I think it’s going to take time, because people don’t have the confidence. The consumers are not going to want to come back to a sporting event and be around thousands of people right from the beginning. It’s going to take time to earn people’s trust that this virus is on its way out.”
Coker admitted that plan isn’t perfect. Even in a closed environment, the organization would need “40, 50 people in that building at one time,” according to Coker. He added that the health and safety of those workers would be crucial, because if one person gets sick, “We all have a problem.”
That “40, 50 people” projection could be an issue. In mid March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have discouraged people from gathering in groups of 50 people or more in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. That restriction was put in place for eight weeks, meaning Bellator’s schedule would fall beyond that time frame. It’s possible the CDC extends that recommendation, however. On top of the CDC’s guidelines, individual states have also placed restrictions on large gatherings.
While Bellator is eager to begin events, Coker preached patience regarding a restart, saying Bellator won’t hold fights until it’s safe. If that will take months, Coker is fine with that. Though the lack of sports has impacted revenues, Coker is confident Bellator can make up that money once events are allowed to take place as normal.
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