It's been nearly a year since an arena full of fans were in attendance for a UFC event. The last time a full capacity crowd witnessed live fights inside the Octagon was UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 7, 2020.
COVID-19 restrictions and precautions have prevented fans from attending live events. The UFC was the first major sports league to return to action, hosting three events in eight days at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida last May... sans fans. And they haven't stopped.
Since those three events in Florida, all other UFC events have taken place in either in Abu Dhabi or the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. UFC president Dana White is optimistic that full-capacity crowds will be back by the summer.
Concert venues are starting to book acts to perform on summer dates. Sports leagues are submitting permits to host live audiences again as early as March.
"I've got plans too," White said during the UFC 258 Post-fight Press Conference on Saturday in Las Vegas.
"I'm optimistic that this summer, by this summer, we could be doing it either in Florida or here (in Las Vegas)," White said of hosting events in a venue full of fans.
While the UFC president is hopeful that fans will be able to attend live events by summer, he's not willing to do anything short of full-capacity crowds.
"I'm not doing a percentage. I want a sellout."
Dana White's FULL UFC 258 press conference
(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)