The UFC is preparing to have their first live audience in more than a year at UFC 261. The show will be headlined by the welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, defending his title against Jorge Masvidal. The pay-per-view will take place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
The tickets for UFC 261 went up for sale on Ticketmaster on March 26 and the arena sold out in less than 15 minutes. The UFC will be hosting their fifth pay-per-view event of the year in a packed stadium with 15,000 people in attendance.
UFC president Dana White took to Twitter to announce the sellout.
With the face value of the tickets spiking due to the current COVID-19 situation, UFC 261 is reportedly the largest gross gate in arena history.
With the arena sold out, there are no unpurchased tickets for UFC 261 available in an official capacity. However, interested parties can keep an eye out for 'Verified Resale Tickets' on Ticketmaster. The UFC Best Seats Sweepstakes, which has been allowing US citizens to enter into a contest and win tickets to live UFC events, is also unavailable at the moment.
Despite rapid action taken to administer the COVID-19 vaccine across the USA, the number of COVID cases per day is still not down enough. In fact, numbers are currently on the rise. The decision to welcome 15,000 guests into an arena amid such a situation has drawn criticism towards the UFC and Dana White, but the promotion is certainly going ahead with the event.
However, they do warn the attendees in the fine print of the ticket that "attendance at the event may lead to exposure to COVID-19 and that contraction of COVID-19 may result in severe and permanent damage to the health of the Holder and/or others..."
Which fighters are competing at UFC 261?
The main event of UFC 261 will see UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman put his title on the line against Jorge Masvidal in a rematch of their UFC 251 clash. The Gamebred fell short in his attempt to secure the title in that event, a result which he has repeatedly blamed on having to accept the fight on short notice.
Kamaru Usman addressed that claim in an interview with BT Sport ahead of his title defense against Gilbert Burns at UFC 258.
The pay-per-view event will see two more title fights. In the co-feature, Zhang Weili will return after her historic battle with Joanna Jedrzejczyk to defend her women's strawweight title against Rose Namajunas. In the third title fight of the night, women's flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko will fight Jessica Andrade in the fifth defense of her championship.