UFC home state Nevada suspended combat sports until further notice

Marlon Moraes rocks Jose Aldo at UFC 245
Marlon Moraes rocks Jose Aldo at UFC 245

The UFC has the capability to hold its own closed-door events on its Las Vegas campus – including full production equipment – but it won't be able to utilize its facilities to hold events for the foreseeable future.

Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett informed on Sunday that the state has suspended  all unarmed combat sports (such as mixed martial arts and boxing) until further notice.

The athletic commission initially put unarmed combat sports on hold on March 14 pending a March 25 commission meeting where its response to the COVID-19 pandemic would be further solidified.

The March 25 meeting was scrapped when Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on March 22 shutdown public meetings in the state, along with all non-essential businesses, until at least April 16. With U.S. President Donald Trump extending nationwide social distancing recommendations until at least April 30, it is likely that Nevada and other states will also extend their orders.

Regardless, Bennett told that there was no direct timeline for unarmed combat sports to return to Nevada. The NSAC will follow the guidance of "the science regarding COVID-19" as it moves forward.

Nevada Athletic Commission statement on unarmed combat sports:

"As of this date (Sunday, April 5) the NSAC will not have any Unarmed Combat events until further notice.  We will listen and follow the science regarding COVID-19 and move forward with events accordingly.  The health and safety of the fighters, their camps, the fans and our staff is the number one priority."

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How is the UFC moving forward?

UFC President Dana White had initially planned to move several events to its APEX facility at its headquarters in Las Vegas, but those plans were scrapped rather quickly when it became apparent that Nevada wasn't likely to approve such a move.

UFC APEX has built-in, advanced production capabilities with an arena space that can be configured to accommodate a variety of live events. But as long as the NSAC is unable to oversee events in the state, the UFC will be unable to produce live events at APEX or at any other Las Vegas venue. No unarmed combat sports promoter will be able to hold an event in Nevada until the order changes.

As of Sunday, White was still intending to move forward with UFC 249 on April 18, though he has yet to unveil a revised fight card or a location.