Dana White on bringing the UFC to Arizona: "That’s 100 percent where I’ll go."

  • Dana White confirms that the UFC might move to Arizona if Las Vegas doesn't open up soon
  • White announced this move as Arizona governor, Doug Ducey, announced opening up of Sports Leagues in the state.
Paarth Pande
Modified 18 May 2020, 19:33 IST

UFC 249 Ferguson v Gaethje
UFC 249 Ferguson v Gaethje

As the world prepares to embrace the new normal, UFC president Dana White hints at the promotion moving to Arizona for its upcoming events.

At Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 8 post-fight press conference, White confirmed that UFC is considering moving to Arizona if the lockdown restriction on Las Vegas is not eased. Arizona has been trying to attract multiple sports leagues, with the governor of the state, Doug Ducey, saying, "We have had discussions with leaders of some of these leagues and they all know they are welcome to operate, play and perform in the state of Arizona.

The decision comes after the governor pointed out that the number of positive cases in the state had fallen and expanding testing numbers of the state.

Arizona willing to play host to White and the UFC

As the UFC, led by White, remained adamant about holding live events, Arizona emerged as a sturdy castle to host the promotion. Nevada remaining closed simply fueled the possibility of the move and on Sunday's press conference White confirmed that it was a strong possibility. White said, “That’s where I’ll go, that’s 100 percent where I’ll go.”

Since time immemorial, Las Vegas has been the modern fight-capital of the world. The city has hosted a majority of the world's biggest Combat sports clashes. Starting from UFC 100 and UFC 200, to UFC 202: Diaz-McGregor 2 and McGregor-Mayweather; a majority of pro-combat sports history has been made in the state. However, as the pandemic changes the very fundamentals of our world, combat sports might also need to find a temporary bastion for its functioning.

Arizona seems to be capitalizing on this opportunity. Also, it isn't as if it's alien to the concept of UFC. Several UFC events have taken place in the state, with the last one being UFC on ESPN 1 back in February 2019. The event saw Cain Velasquez make an unsuccessful return to the sport as he lost to Francis Ngannou in the very first round.

Arizona also isn't entering the trade recklessly. The governor made it clear that "This does not mean a return to normal. This is a green light to proceed. It’s not a green light to speed." Overall, the move does seem inevitable for the time being but the unpredictable nature of the pandemic has rendered the word meaningless.

Published 18 May 2020, 14:35 IST
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