Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events will return to Las Vegas from this weekend. The news comes after the Nevada Athletics Commission unanimously approved a lifting on the ban of contact sports imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first event will be an MMA event in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) on Saturday, headed by a welterweight clash between Tyron Woods and Gilbert Burns.
That will be followed on June 9th with a five-card boxing card which will be laid on by promoter Bob Arum, the first of a series of events that he is planning to hold in the foyer of the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas. All of them will be broadcast live by ESPN.
As with so many other sporting events though, all fights will take place behind closed doors, with no fans allowed ringside, and an extensive range of medical protocols will be in place. That includes fighters, coaches and everybody else involved physically with the events needing to be tested, at least once, in the week of a fight for coronavirus.
In addition, fighters and their cornermen will stay in a special area of the hotel, segregated from other guests and staff, and allowed out only to eat at an appropriate restaurant in the hotel, or to train in a designated gym.
They will also be tested the night before a fight. Las Vegas organisers are hoping to avoid a repeat of the issue that occurred in Florida where UFC events have already resumed when a fighter tested positive for the virus on the day of a fight and had to be withdrawn from the card at short notice.
No media will be allowed into fight venues, at least initially, because of the logistical challenges involved in having more people to test,